Today marks International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
Across Australia, events are taking place throughout the week, celebrating this year’s IWD theme, #BreakTheBias, with a focus on creating a gender-equal world, free from prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination.
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2021 has been a tumultuous year, driven by a global pandemic, economic inequality and revelations about the pervasive nature of sexual harassment, coercion, assault and violence in Australia.
But emerging from silence and complacency, came individual and collective voices, encouraged by the resilience of the #MeToo movement.
Australia has seen the likes of former Australian of the Year Grace Tame, ex-Liberal worker Brittany Higgins, sexual consent campaigner Chanel Contos and sexual assault survivor and lawyer Saxon Mullins all making their voices heard. their voice for women’s equality.
Each in their own way helped spark a national conversation about safety, respect and fairness of women in Australia, shining a spotlight on the myriad ways women and children remain unsafe and disrespected in their homes, schools, workplaces, parliament and public spaces.
A new campaignSafety, Respect, Fairness” demanding equal pay and an end to injustice and inequality for women and children was launched this week, calling for a series of reforms ahead of the federal election.
In an open letter, signed by Brittany Higgins, Lucy Hughes Turnbull, Wendy McCarthy, Grace Tame, Madison de Rozario, Yasmin Poole, Julia Banks, Michele O’Neil Chanel Contos, Christine Holgate, Larissa Behrendt and Georgie Dent, the collective voice of Australian women can be heard.
“One in five women in Australia will be sexually assaulted or raped in her lifetime. Two in five women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years. If you are a First Nations woman, a woman of color, have a disability, or identify as LGBTIQ+, those stats are much worse,” says the open letter.
“Over the years there have been countless reviews, inquiries, pledges, conferences and bodies created to assess and report on the inequity and injustice women face, but there has been no no significant change.”
“Enough is enough. We are tired of empty promises. Every woman in Australia deserves access to a safe place to work, a safe place to live, fair and equal pay, free early learning and care from quality and a justice system that works for survivors.
Whether deliberate or unconscious, biases exist and action is needed to level the playing field.
For more information on International Women’s Day celebrations and to see what’s happening in your state, go to https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
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