INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
8 MARCH 2018
“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 – women and men – who care about human rights,” Gloria Steinem world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist.
International Women’s Day is a day to challenge all Australian women and men to consider the legacy that will be passed onto future generations of women. This year, the United Nations is asking the global community to #PressForProgress and be tenacious in accelerating gender equality and empowerment.
The System Is Failing Women
There is no doubt that the system is failing women in almost all aspects of their working lives.
Gender inequalities are still deeply embedded in every society. Women suffer from lack of access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. In many countries, women are denied access to basic education and health care and are victims of violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.
In 2014, the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. However, the most recent Gender Gap Report ( 2017) highlights that a slowdown is being experienced in the already glacial pace of progress and that the global gender pay gap will not be closed until the year 2234. That is 216 years away.
The System Is Also Failing Australian Women And Girls
Australian women and girls are not isolated from these trends. Here are the facts.
• Australian women account for 92% of primary carers for children with disabilities, 70% of primary carers for parents and 52% of primary carers for partners. Such caregiving situations cause financial challenges through the loss of wages from reduced hours, part-time employment, time out of the workforce, family leave or early retirement.
• The national full time gender pay gap is 15.3% and it has remained stuck between 5% and 19% for the past two decades. This means that while women comprise roughly 46% of all employees in Australia, women’s full time earnings are $251.20 less per week than men.
• Average superannuation payments to women are just over half (53%) that of men with many women having little or no superannuation.
• 1 in 6 women have experienced violence at some time in their adult life.
• One-third of women (33%) have been sexually harassed since the age of 15, while a quarter of women (25%) aged 15 years and older have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
• Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in schools. Despite high proportion of women in education, women hold only 65.5% of primary leadership and 48.2 % of secondary leadership roles.
• Women remain significantly under represented in Australian Parliament (32%).
Why Is It Taking So Long?
With the plethora of gender equality and inclusion programs and projects across the world, how is it that we are slowing down our progress, when we should be speeding up.
Research shows that the strongest forces behind persistent gender gaps are harmful social norms and stereotypes that limit expectations of what women can or should do. These outdated norms discriminate against women in many situations and are deeply ingrained.
Since all areas of life relate to gender equality, efforts must be made to cut the roots of gender discrimination wherever they appear.