Older Women's Network Australia

Older Women's Network

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About OWN

Own Australia Inc. membership is open to all women over the age of 50(ish). We are the only peak body in Australia committed to promoting the rights and dignity of older women.

Our charter is to lobby for legislative and other reforms on issues affecting the quality of life of all women - including future older women.

We welcome you to join us in our activities - or create your own groups, wellness centres, seminars, conferences, projects or research.

We are here to support you.

OWN already conducts a number of activities including theatre groups, seminars, conferences, advocacy and research. We support projects focused on the improved wellness, quality of life and opportunities for older women in the fields of:

  • Anti-discrimination
  • Education
  • Income Security
  • Appropriate health care
  • Participation in decision making affecting older women

With your help we can do more.

OWN is for older women, by older women. We look forward to meeting you.

Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and help organise events and campaigns, or show your support by donating, your help is needed and welcome.

For more information on how to join or donate, please follow the "Invitation to Participate" link at the bottom of this page.

Thank you - and welcome!

OWN Australia's Aims and Objectives:

  • To assist older women to develop skills in research, advocacy, lobbying, networking and technology.
  • To address issues of discrimination against older women.
  • To provide a forum for older women who suffer disadvantage.
  • To promote appropriate policies and to lobby for legislation and reforms on issues affecting the quality of life of all older women.
  • To advocate on behalf of all older women for equal rights in all of life’s endeavours.
  • To achieve recognition of the work (including the unpaid work) and contribution of older women in society.
  • To work towards the elimination of age and gender discrimination.

Our Origins:

The Older Women's Network was created in 1985 in Sydney (NSW) in response to the recognition by women members and workers of the Combined Pensioner's Association that needs of older women had not received adequate attention. They believed that political parties, Government forums, women's groups and some elements of the feminist movement, had not given older women encouragement and the necessary skills and avenues to represent themselves and their particular interests. Their perceptions were also reinforced by the common claim of women in the 50+ age group that they were socially invisible.

The initial aims of the Older Women's Network were to provide older women with access to education, information and support, and to enable them to challenge negative stereotypes of female ageing; as well as to encourage their participation in decision-making about matters affecting their wellbeing.

Several regions of NSW, such as Central Coast, Nowra and Blue Mountains, subsequently established OWN groups with the assistance of OWN Sydney. This provided the impetus for an intrastate meeting to define common aims, objectives and structure of the networks, thus forming OWN NSW. An Interstate Outreach program was conducted by OWN NSW members to all States and this resulted in OWN groups being founded in other States.

The growth of OWN groups across Australia prompted the need for discussion on the provision of a distinct national voice. In 1992 OWN groups held a National Think Tank over 5 days, reaching the following conclusions:

  • The majority of older people are women.
  • There was a continuous and significant growth of OWN groups around Australia.
  • OWN groups were increasingly involved in consumer organisations, influencing policy and initiatives affecting older women.
  • OWN groups' influence in the political sphere was noticeable.
  • There were increasing requests for involvement from Government and NGOs about future strategies at national level.

There was a clear need to pool ideas and knowledge that arose from each OWN group's diverse experiences. Given the predicted increase in the number of older women, it was vital that OWN be involved in and contribute to research, policy and directions. OWN Australia was born in 1993 following a Conference of State delegates who established OWN Australia's Governance, Aims and Objectives and Constitution.

OWN National Office Bearers:

National President: Aloma Fennell

Aloma Fennell
Aloma Fennell
BA (B.Sc), MA (Adult Ed),

Aloma is an experienced businesswoman, Board Director, University Lecturer and Chairperson. She has over 30 years experience, with her own business, consulting and recruiting for many major corporations, governments, and NFP sectors including UNICEF. Her extensive experience has been gained within a number of diverse countries.
She is the past Chairperson of the Council of the S.I.T (TAFE), National President of the Australian Institute of Training & Development, Board Director of the Mona Vale Hospital, and is a current Director of World Kindness China. She also continues to manage her own NFP organisation in Australia.
Aloma joined OWN NSW in 2011 following a project of working with the Board of a seniors’ organisation in Calgary, Canada. During this time, as she says, her eyes were opened to the plight of older women. To the economic inequalities, the elder abuse, the lack of social inclusion, the indifferences to their well being needs and much, much more which stands in the way of older women’s’ right to dignity and social standing in our society. On return to Australia she was determined to do something about this and OWN was the organisation she chose as most appropriate to make a difference. She was elected to the position of National President, OWN Australia in 2013.

National Secretary: Sharan Tuite

Sharan Tuite
Sharan Tuite

Sharan joined OWN NSW in 2011 when she retired from a long professional career with the State Government. On joining OWN she became a member of the Macarthur group, which meets in Campbelltown. Her expertise and working experience was recognised in 2012 when she was elected to the OWN NSW Management Team, where she holds the positions of Secretary and Public Officer.
At the 2013 OWN Australia AGM, Sharan was elected to the National Council and, along with the positions, mentioned above, she was elected to the position of National Secretary.
Sharan is a tireless worker highly committed to upholding and ensuring the rights, dignity and wellbeing of older women are supported and upheld.

National Treasurer and Public Officer: Cate Turner

Cate Turner
Cate Turner

Cate is one of the longest serving members of OWN having joined OWN NSW over 21 years ago. She has served on the management teams of both OWN NSW and OWN Australia having previously held the positions of both National Convener and National Treasurer.
Within OWN NSW she was very active in the Housing Group and is still active with the OWN NSW Aboriginal Support Group.
Cate’s other community involvements include being the immediate Past President of the Lions Club of Sydney, and until 2014, the Treasurer of Lane Cove Reconciliation Group. She is also currently the Public Officer of the Women's Electoral Lobby.

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