Clare to put case for women

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Senior Officer Clare Ferguson and Superintendent Charlie Tuck.
Camera IconSenior Officer Clare Ferguson and Superintendent Charlie Tuck.

As the only female senior officer at Albany Regional Prison, Clare Ferguson will represent her workplace at the Women in Male Dominated Occupations and Industries Conference in Tasmania today.

Officer Ferguson will share her experiences from spending the past eight years working in various prisons across WA.

She will also be representing WA Corrective Services and the WA Prison Officers’ Union in a push for the industry to recruit more women.

“For me, this conference is not about creating a divide between men and women. It’s about gaining skills and sharing stories to further improve the employment conditions for women in WA prisons,” she said.

“I believe that both male and female officers play an important role, but sometimes prisoners want to speak to a brother and sometimes they want to speak to a mother.

“One day, these conferences won’t be needed but, for now, there is still room for improvement in the system.”

WAPOU secretary Andy Smith said stereotyping women’s capabilities was one of the barriers females faced in the industry.

“Working in prisons is a tough job and women prison officers are excellent at handling difficult situations but, unfortunately, often get overlooked for promotion,” he said.

“The industry has a history of being male dominated and the union is taking steps to encourage women’s participation in leadership roles and to address systemic organisational barriers to women’s advancement.”

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