Transitions, Changes and New Opportunities

Learning about coercive control at the Area 3 workshop. L-R: Mrs McLean, Tyril Houghton (Area 3 Director), Don McLean (WA Police).

It was a jam packed program at the Zonta District 23 Area 3 Workshop. The program included presentations on gender equality and climate action, coercive control, and women in technology as well as presentations, and updates on the amazing projects being undertaken by clubs in Western Australia.

We did not realise how grim the future looks for women if the climate crisis is not addressed quickly. As the Eastern States were suffering from prolonged flooding, Zontian, Carole Theobald walked us through the problems of the climate crisis. We learned that women hold the key to many of the solutions. Educating girls, advocating for women’s rights and inspiring more female leaders are fundamental ways of reducing emissions… just visit to find out why.

Don McLean from WA Police provided a very practical visual to demonstrate the elements that make up coercive control. He spoke from experience and explained that many women do not realise that coercive control is a form of family violence. Women may not be suffering physical violence, but they cannot live their lives fully. Their partners use their power to control them through such actions as intimidation, coercion, withholding money and limiting who they can see. It is scary to see how insidious this behaviour can be, slowly growing over the years until the woman has no confidence, no power, and no life. WA Police are being trained to look for the signs of coercive control when attending family violence situations. The book See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill explains coercive control in more detail.

Kay Hargreaves, the co-chair of Women in Technology WA, provided an overview of their work to champion diversity and equality for women in technology+. With over 4,500 members, WITWA has four programs: future skills that through the Techtrails program bring female technology professionals into the classroom; professional events to increase members confidence and visibility; a new program that brings practical diversity and inclusion education to corporations; as well as an annual conference and awards to recognise excellence. Kay was inspired by Dame Steve Shirley, an early software entrepreneur that employed mostly females that worked from home – decades ago! Check her out in this interview.

A special presentation was made to Marina Sarkoski, who won the 2020 District 23 Jane M Klausman Women in Business Scholarship. Marina brought her husband and two sons who proudly saw her being presented with the award.

Members were able to catch up on activities being undertaken by clubs throughout WA, share ideas and learn about what is happening in District 23.

The District Conference is being held in Bendigo, Victoria from 10-12 September – so book your flights today.

L-R: Marina Sarkoski receives the District 23 Jane M Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from District 23 Governor, Sandra Burns.

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