Women who support other women create a virtuous circle and contribute to a better world. Let’s inspire everyday women to take action and support their communities.
Women supporting other women is powerful and is a catalyst for change. In Australia, strong women have been the vanguard in recent years for recognising the problems that women face in the workplace and in society at large. They have taken it upon themselves to forge new demands to inspire women to rise up and create a better environment in which to live and work.
In Australia in recent years, women have banded together to demand change. Let’s look at some of the most prominent women supporting women rights across the country.
In March 2020, Kate Jenkins, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner and a member of the Australian Human Rights Commission, released the Respect@Work report into gender inequality, making 55 recommendations to the government to improve the position and safety of women at work in Australia.
One year later, the 2021 March 4 Justice, which took place in cities across Australia, was held to address the Australian government’s response to the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins in Parliament House, and tapped into the outrage felt by women in regards to their safety at work. The women who gathered were unhappy with the lack of response to the Respect@Work report and bravely spoke up in support of those who were victims of sexual harassment.
Also in 2021, Grace Tame was made Australian of the Year for her work in speaking out for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Australia. As a survivor of sexual abuse, Grace used her platform to spread the word about sexual abuse.
“We’re all getting very stirred up at the moment. We see these surges and then they die down. What we need to do is sustain a more manageable, reasonable momentum that’s not so overblown, it’s just measured,” says Grace.
This year, Grace and a number of significant female voices, including Brittany Higgins, Lucy Turnbull, Julia Banks, Christine Holgate, Chanel Contos, Wendy McCarthy, Madison de Rozario, Michele O’Neil, Larissa Behrendt, Yasmin Poole and Georgie Dent launched the platform Safety. Equity. Respect. These powerful women came together to make specific demands regarding the rights of women. These demands include:
- Preventing sexual harassment and bullying. (Implement all 55 recommendations in the Respect@Work 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 and fund the seven recommendations in the 2020 Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report.)
- Ensuring effective employment programs for women with disabilities.
- 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.
Most recently, the federal government introduced legislation to parliament that would give around 11 million workers — including casuals — access to 10 days paid domestic violence leave. The new government has pledged to create a voice for Indigenous Australians in the Constitution and has committed to more female representatives in government. In the most recent federal election, several “Teal” candidates and independent women were elected to parliament.
When women come together to demand change, it can be a powerful force for good.
WellBeing has launched The Women of the Year Awards to reward women who are rising above the normal demands of work and family to do something extra for their community. We are looking for women who are taking their first steps on this journey so if you know someone, nominate them.
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