Equity has a new president, and for the second time in the union’s 88 year history, a female president – the actress Maureen Beattie. Beattie, a current vice president who has been an Equity Councillor for 4 years, was elected unopposed after nominations for president and the union’s ruling council closed. The current president Malcolm Sinclair announced back in February that he was standing down after 8 years/ 4 terms as president – he was elected back in 2010.
Beattie has been at the forefront of Equity’s work on sexual harassment following #MeToo; she instigated and chaired Equity’s Sexual Harassment Working Group and the Agenda for Change report. This led to the current Equity campaign for Safe Spaces launched only a few weeks ago. Beattie said on her appointment “My dream is that every member of equity has as equal an opportunity to get work as any other member. That is not the round corner by any means, but we can make improvements.” With the issues around harassment and #MeToo leading to more disclosures, the (welcomed) push for better equality for all in both the workplace and the opportunity to work, along with the day to day issues facing members of the union, there is much more for Beattie to do.
Interestingly Beattie’s appointment will mean that 2 of the most senior positions in the union, President and General Secretary will both be held by women. The General Secretary being Christine Payne who has been in office since 2005 and was the first women to be General Secretary of the union.
If you are interested, the first women to be President of Equity was Beatrix Lehmann from 1946-1948.