By Amanda Lawrence
SYDNEY — The annual Network of Women Students Australia (NOWSA) national conference was held at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean's Kingswood campus on June 29-July 3. Around 350 women attended from around Australia.
Major plenary sessions covered topics such as women and education, gender and sexuality, work, art and technology, indigenous issues, and feminist campaigning and organising.
There were more than 30 workshops on topics such as the recent campaign in WA to repeal anti-abortion laws and the problems with the new legislation, socialism and women's liberation, the role of men in the women's movement, and building International Women's Day.
A highlight of the conference was a march and rally on July 1 around the theme "Stop the attacks on women" and in support of Aboriginal land rights. Women marched from the UWS campus to Penrith, five kilometres away. The marchers were addressed by Jenny Munro, chairperson of Sydney's Metropolitan Land Council. A member of the campaign to stop the construction of the Badgerys Creek airport also spoke.
Melanie Bull, one of the conference organisers and a member of Resistance, told Green Left Weekly: "This year's conference has been very successful. Although it was a bit smaller than in past years, the information sharing and discussion has been just as valuable. We've been able to use the conference as a forum to develop some of the most interesting and important political debates in the feminist movement today."
The conference voted that Victoria organise and host NOWSA in 1999. A full report on the conference will appear in the next issue of Green Left Weekly.