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Councillor Column – 21 March 2023 – Joanne Mackay

Mar 28, 2023

For Immediate Release 21 March 2023
Authorised by Councillor Joanne Mackay

Last weekend, along with 100 plus Hilltops women, I had the pleasure of attending the Boorowa International Women’s Day (IWD). The day’s success was greatly influenced by the quality and breadth of the speakers who themselves came from diverse backgrounds.

IWD is an opportunity for us all to remember that gender equality is a human rights issue. The day provided the chance to reflect on the achievements of our four speakers and to remind us that our own communities are rich with women who positively influence those around them.

Although IWD celebrates how far women’s rights and gender equality has come, it is more important to recognise what still needs to be done. According to the United Nations, women make up 70% of the world’s 1.3 billion people living in poverty, and of those displaced by climate-related disasters, 80% are women and children. Women throughout the world suffer violence and oppression without many of the opportunities we enjoy in our own country. In Australia, we are afforded education and protection through legislation such as the Workplace Gender Equality Act and the Sex Discrimination Act overseen by the Human Rights Commission that promote and improve gender equality.

Gender equality is about the power to influence decisions and make a difference. Women are still under represented in positions of power, whether it’s in government, at the board table, in senior leadership positions or in many workplaces. What gives us hope in our own country is the growing evidence that the gender equality gap continues to diminish through initiatives such as STEM and the push for greater female representation in corporate and government positions at all levels. Whether it is looking back, or looking forward, IWD speaks to us all a little differently and there is no doubt, at least within our own country, we have come a long way.

I will leave you with the words of the former president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Kavita Ramdas, ‘We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.’

Joanne Mackay