Another year, another International Women's Day...

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The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.
— Gloria Steinem

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. The 2018 theme, Press for Progress, continues the momentum that’s followed campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp but the question most are asking is will this year be any different? 

Feminism reimagined is here. 

Women all over the world are standing up, calling out and stepping forward together to stamp out discrimination, unfair and inappropriate behaviours. Forever changing our future where gender equality and new workplace paradigms are the norm.

Freeze frame and look around.

We’re in a moment in time where the world is poised to step into the next wave of women’s empowerment, inspired by the strong women before us. From Gloria Steinem and Wendy McCarthy, to the late Minister for Women Victoria, Fiona Richardson, and the courageous & compassionate woman that is Rosie Batty, the word appreciation does not even begin to acknowledge the impact they have had in advancing our freedoms.

But what will this next wave look like? How will we know when we have succeeded? I often have conversations with people from senior business leaders right through to strong, inspired young women grappling with the enormity of such a task.

I always bring the discussion back to the human rights they can both protect and advance in daily life. What we know, is that discrimination and the gendered expectations imposed on both men and women, start at pregnancy.

Press for progress right here.

Workplaces have a unique opportunity to turn statistics such as those below on their head and proactively advance women's rights, and build their economic security and independence.

  • 1 in 2 women report experiencing discrimination in the workplace during their pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work - what's the point of paying parental leave if around half of your women will experience discrimination?
  • 59% of working dads would like to work part time...provided they could continue to have a meaningful career.
  • 1 in 50 men take parental leave, and just 1 in 3 dads eligible for the government's Dad and Partner pay access it…but 85% said they would take three months off work to take care of their baby if there were no financial barriers.
  • 70% of all part-time workers in Australia today are women, and just 6% of all manager roles in Australia are performed part-time.
  • The average superannuation balance for women at retirement is 42% less than that of men.

It all starts with a vision for change.

At Grace Papers, our vision for gender equality includes a world where women can realise their full professional potential and care for their families without it coming at a cost. A world where men can be vulnerable, care freely and work flexibly. A world where women and men are equally responsible for the most important decisions in our world – at work and at home.

What's yours? For if you don't know where you are going, how will you know if you're helping us get there?

Does a freedom exist if you don't use it? How are you using yours? 

So often women call us to ask whether they should speak up.  But to enable us to turn around some of the most worrisome statistics that see women economically disadvantaged, and lose their confidence. 

The fact is, we all have the opportunity to have an influence in the workplace and International Women’s Day is the perfect time to step into change, and take time out to:

  • Educate yourselves about gender inequality, and envision your world where these inequities no longer exist; 
  • Do your part in cultivating a transparent and safe culture where employees feel empowered to speak up about bias and discrimination;
  • Make gender equality about men too... don’t just set targets around the number of women in leadership, drive behavioural change and challenge the gendered expectations by setting a target, for example, around the number of men taking parental leave in your organisation, and the number of part-timers in senior roles. 

Speak up, exercise your freedoms, and be a human being who cares enough about human rights, to #pressforprogress this year.