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International Women’s Day; Enough Of The Empty Promises

Enough of the empty promises, if there is one change Australia needs for International Women’s Day it is an end to the misogynistic overtones of this country declares Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins and a chorus of prominent Australian women’s voices. Sexual harassment, workplace equality, child sexual assault laws and major issues around the challenges of raising a family are all addressed in an open letter posted to YouTube entitled Safety. Respect. Equity. They are right and it benefits Australia, not just the women calling for change.

Why is this important? In a nutshell, they are basic human rights. Child sexual assault laws don’t just protect young girls, they are for the protection of all children, regardless of gender or background. Education and childcare benefits don’t only support women, they would support families and single parents of all genders. Paid parental leave is for both parents and the expansion of this leave would address the needs of the family, not just the mother. Consider families where there are two mothers or two fathers, the system doesn’t adequately represent any of the population anymore. As I said before, there needs to be an end to the misogyny so prevalent in Australia, because at their root, these problems are caused by the patriarchal attitudes of a bygone era.

This is important because the women of Australia deserve to live in a country where no one is raped instead of a country where 1 in 5 are. Women have a right to go to work and feel safe like anyone else, instead 2 in 5 are sexually harassed at work. For First Nations women, women with a disability, women of colour and members of the LGBTQI+ community these statistics are much worse. Every person regardless of gender, age, race, religion and lifestyle deserves to have equal opportunities in life, to be equal within their community.

So how do we change this narrative? Safety. Respect. Equity made a simple list for our country and leaders to address in 2022.

The needs listed are simple:

  • Preventing sexual harassment and bullying. (Implement all 55 recommendations in the [email protected] report including a positive duty on employers.)
  • 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
  • Acting on the National Plan for First Nations Women and Girls. (Support & fund the 7 recommendations in the 2020 Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report)
  • Ensuring effective employment programs for women with disability.
  • Stronger, consistent child sexual assault laws.
  • Eliminating the gender pay gap including necessary legal reform.
  • Free, accessible and quality early childhood education and care.
  • Expanding paid parental leave.
  • Embedding respectful relationships and consent education everywhere including schools, universities, workplaces and homes.

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