"I ask myself if I don't speak up, who will?"

Anna Stewart Memorial Project participant Heather Carr spoke to us about her time at the FSU and her dreams for the future of women in the union movement

For FSU Workplace Representative Heather Carr, knowing that she is part of something bigger makes her proud.

Heather recently spent a week participating in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project and says that it was “a week I won’t ever forget”.

Every year workplace reps and delegates from around the country take part in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project. The project encourages women to be more involved in their union with hands-on experience, including workplace visits and meetings, enterprise bargaining negotiations, dispute resolution conferences, and hearings in tribunals. 

Heather was selected for her work as a Workplace Representative at RACQ and participated in the Queensland program in May. She spent her time with the FSU, the Queensland Teachers Union, and Queensland Unions, visiting worksites, going to meetings, and seeing all the parts that make up the union’s work. 

She said that the Anna Stewart Memorial Project was an incredible experience. “Being able to meet and speak with like-minded women, hear their stories and learn about their growth has been great. I have met some amazing women who have inspired me every day of the program.” 


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Heather said the program gave her a chance to work with women from various backgrounds, including legal aid lawyers, teachers, and cleaners. These women all have similar goals, do well in their respective roles, and make their workplaces safer and fairer.  

Heather comes from a family that valued fairness at work and the power of speaking up. Her mother is a winner of the Queensland Council of Unions Emma Miller Award, which recognises the contribution of women to their unions. Joining the union was common sense to her. 

“It’s so important to have women joining their unions. We know there has been a lot of male domination in the past. Women have gained many rights in the workplace in that time; however, we can’t rely on men to look out for women’s interests,” she said.

“There is still a wage gap, there is still a glass ceiling, but we need to hear from more women directly. We can establish focus groups to talk about issues outside of the big-ticket items like maternity leave and superannuation.”  

Having worked at RACQ for over seven years, Heather now works in Quality Assurance. Closely attuned to legislation, she completes audits in this compliance-based role that regularly has her on the phone with customers.

This role has enriched her understanding of assisting people in stressful situations. She has also learnt the value of joining together and speaking up in the workplace. She says that she speaks up because she knows that it is vital, “I ask myself if I don’t speak up, who will? It is important to do what is right to make our workplaces fairer.” 

If you are interested in participating in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project, contact your organiser or email women@vthc.org.au to be notified when applications open for the 2022 program.