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Happy International Women’s Day

By Rebecca Vassarotti 7 March 2017 25

Women's rights

Each year on 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. This day has been designated by the United Nations as a day to reflect on the progress made for equality, a time to call for change in the areas where we have work to do and a chance to celebrate the work done by ordinary women making change in their communities, in their nations and globally to ensure that all citizens of the world reach their potential.

Some people may ask what is relevance of a day such as International Women’s Day in a community like the ACT.

While many people think this is a community where we have achieved equality, unfortunately the data tells us that while we have come some way to creating a more equal community, there is still much work to be done. Even here, women fight to get pay equity as women are paid about 11% less than men in the ACT, and occupy some of our lowest paid industries. For example, the ACTCOSS State of the Community Sector Survey 2016 found that 77% of employees in that sector are female, and one in four were casual workers. Women still end their work lives with lower levels of superannuation and stability in retirement and one in three women will suffer violence in their lifetimes. Women with a disability, from a culturally or linguistically diverse background, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women and lesbian, bisexual or gender diverse women face even more discrimination and structural disadvantage.

In the face of this reality, International Women’s Day also gives us an opportunity to celebrate the amazing women that are working to make a difference in our local community. Each year, the ACT Government recognises these achievements with the International Women’s Day Awards that shine a light on women of courage, conviction and those making the journey easier for the women who follow them. A great way to get inspired is to check out the honour roll of women who have been recognised for the great work they have done in the community, Women like Sue Salthouse who has been a tireless campaigner for the right of women with disability, Hilary Charlesworth AM who was instrumental in drafting the ACT (and Australia’s) first Human Rights Act, Kim Davidson who has worked to support young people from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community, Sue Packer AM who has spent her professional life to create greater protection for children and Audrey Fagan, the ACT’s first female Police Commissioner.

So, International Women’s Day is an important day for me, and one on which I draw inspiration from  the fantastic work that has been undertaken by women in our community. It’s one where I take stock on the work that still needs to be done, and one where I renew my commitment about what I can do to create an equal community.

And before you ask – International Men’s Day is on 19 November.

What do you think? Is International Women’s Day an important day for you?

What’s Your opinion?


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crackerpants 5:45 am 13 Mar 17

Masquara said :

crackerpants said :

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Cracker pants, did you notice that this thread pertains to International WOMEN’s Day? Feel free to insert mention of the male parents of toddlers in another context.

Oh very good, well done. You can continue to willfully miss my point, but that’s ok, because as the current crop of grumpy sexist old men fades into irrelevance, I can focus on raising the next generation to be clear-thinking, compassionate, inclusive and progressive.

Masquara 11:02 am 12 Mar 17

crackerpants said :

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Cracker pants, did you notice that this thread pertains to International WOMEN’s Day? Feel free to insert mention of the male parents of toddlers in another context.

crackerpants 8:56 am 12 Mar 17

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Masquara 9:59 pm 11 Mar 17

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

Futureproof 2:00 pm 11 Mar 17

The Daily Mail had an article today where a man and a woman swapped e-mail addresses. The man (with the woman’s email address) met hurdles, whilst the women (with the man’s e-mail address) had a much better deal.

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