On International Women’s Day 2024, Griffith University Student Associations, the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Postgraduate Student Association (GUPSA) are launched a report titled: “Where Is the Social Justice for Students? Experiences of Poverty on Placement”  

Our report findings, drawn from a survey in which 86% of the participants were women, have shed light on the critical intersection of gender and poverty on placements, highlighting the urgent need for systemic change. This situation not only undermines students’ educational experience but also their future professional trajectories.  

The release of the report aligns with the 2024 International Women’s Day theme, “Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.”, urging us to confront the barriers that hinder economic and educational equality for women. Despite notable advances, women continue to face challenges in achieving equal participation.

Key Insights from the Report 

  • As students face the escalating cost-of-living crisis and find it increasingly challenging to cover essential expenses like food, accommodation, transport, and household bills during unpaid placements.

 

  • 82.5% of survey respondents identifying with one or more equity groups, educators and policymakers must address the intersections of disability, race, gender diversity, sexuality, and age to ensure inclusive responses to poverty on placements that reflect the diversity of students and future professionals working in these fields. 
  • Financial struggles during placements significantly exacerbate stress, mental health issues, sleep disturbances, overall well-being, learning outcomes, and interpersonal relationships.

 

  • The report highlights the disproportionate representation of women in placement-required industries, critical sectors that form the backbone of society and comprise our essential workforce. Urgent action is needed to foster social justice within these student communities and professions.

What is next?

The concerns raised in our report are a call to action for urgent reform. Peak professional registration bodies must consider greater flexibility in placement requirements, while the education sector and governments are urged to provide more accessible and significantly increased financial support for students on placement. 

We invite educators, policymakers, students, and all stakeholders to engage with our findings, and extend our gratitude to those already undertaking work in this space including: Professor Ann Bonner (Griffith University) and Professor Karen Strickland (Edith Cowan University) on behalf of the Council of Deans of Nursing and Midwifery (CDNM), the Australian Council of Heads of Social Work Education (ACHSWE), and Griffith University’s Professor Caroline Rueckert (Dean, Career Readiness) and colleagues. 

To stay updated on our advocacy, future consultations, and how you can support or benefit from our initiatives, please email advocacy@griffith.edu.au and follow us @waliwellnesshq for updates and insights. 

"Thank you to each student who shared your experience on placement at Griffith University to contribute to our Poverty on Placement Report. We, your SRC Board, empathise with the significant commitment and challenges that come with your placements, particularly the substantial workload and financial stress that you undertake during these placements. Your insights play a pivotal role in this report. Through your experiences, we aim to influence positive changes within the university and the broader community for future students and enhance current support mechanisms, contributing to a more promising future for all Griffith students on placement."
Emily Parker - QCA President
Emily Parker
2023 SRC Board Chair