International Women's Day

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Happy International Women's Day Week!

What a wonderful time to celebrate women and all their fabulousness. Or is it?

If we take a look at the stats, things are still not all bright and cheery for Aussie women...

  • Women hold just 14% of all Chair and 23.6% of Director positions and only 15% of CEO positions
  • There is a gender pay gap of 19%
  • Boys earn 11% more pocket money than girls
  • 1 in 2 women experience discrimination either while pregnant, on maternity leave or on their return to work
  • More than 1 in 5 women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and
  • 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

and this list goes on...

BUT if you consider the progress that has been made in relation to women's rights there is certainly much to be celebrated. So we should, and not just this week, but every week, and preferably with champagne.

We should celebrate the courage and determination of ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. And one such woman, who I had the pleasure of hearing speaking this week, is Rosie Batty.

When her son Luke, aged 11 was murdered by his father, a man with a mental illness and the subject of an AVO, rather than shut the doors on life and retreat into pity she spoke out. She create a national conversation about family violence, and all while grieving for the loss of her son. As she said yesterday, "its amazing what strength you can find".

I am amazed still to see her stand in front of a room of people and tell her story without breaking down. But that's not Rosie. She is strong and determined. She feels grateful for her talents and gifts, and she wants to make sure that she continues to speak for those that cannot speak. The 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 children that experience family violence, and the 2 women that are killed each week as a result of domestic violence in Australia.

She has worked, and continues to work, tirelessly to ensure that every Australian understands that disrespecting women is unacceptable. To ensure that businesses understand that domestic violence is also a workplace issue. And to ensure that we are all better aware and better equipped to support those suffering.

Rosie Batty makes me proud to be a woman and makes me want to continue to work for change and equality for women. Because we would have nothing to celebrate on international Women's Day without the wonders of people like Rosie Batty.

Here are three take-aways from Rosie Batty's speech.

  1. Call 1800 Respect if you, or someone you know needs help.
  2. Go to neveralone.com.au and sign up to support Rosie's campaign to stand beside victims of abuse, give them a voice and create change.
  3. Listen to the experts and support women's crisis centres