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We want change and we want it in our lifetime. Everyone in the community, from schools to sporting clubs, has a role to play in changing the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women.
Over the last century, we have made significant progress for gender equality in Australia; increased participation in education and work; increased prominence in leadership roles; and the development of a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women.
Globally, we have been part of a shift towards calling out sexist behaviours and the effects of patriarchy. The #MeToo movement, started by Tarana Burke, is just the latest in a long history of feminists speaking up against sexual harassment and speaking out against gender discrimination and abuses of power.
Yet, progress on gender equality is slowing down. At the current rate of change, research findings suggest that it will take another 108 years to close the overall gender gap. Australia ranks 46th overall in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Index.
For every statistic you see about women, you can be certain that the situation is worse where the person experiences the intersecting effects of racism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and colonisation. According to ANROWS findings, Indigenous women are still 35 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults. Family violence is the leading cause of death and disability for women aged 18-44. Women retire with half (53%) the superannuation of men and are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty in old age (3).
This isn’t good enough.
We want change and we want it in our lifetime.
We want equal pay for work of equal value. We want the equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work in households. We want an end to sexual harassment and violence against women and girls, nonbinary and gender-diverse folks. We want health-care services that respond to our needs. We want equal representation in positions of leadership and power, and equal decision-making in all areas of life.
Over the past 16 days, we have highlighted the myriad of ways that gender equality is beneficial for everyone in our society, not just women. Everyone in the community, from schools to sporting clubs, has a role to play in changing the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women.
Let’s get it done in our time.