International Women’s Day, celebrated each year on March 8th, is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women – whilst also being aware that further action towards equality is still needed. It is a day acknowledged around the country – and the world. Both our Prime Minister and our Minister for Women acknowledged the Day in 2016, as follows:
Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull
At an International Women’s Day afternoon tea in Adelaide, our Prime Minister made the following comments.
“Gender equality is such a critical objective. It’s an ethical objective, it’s an economic objective, and it’s an economic imperative. You know the most valuable capital we have is our human capital. The best assets we have are those walking around on top of the ground, not the rocks under the ground.
So how do we maximise, how do we ensure that we have the benefit of all of our human capital? Clearly there should be no occupation, no goal, no role, no leadership position, no line of work, which a young woman, a girl cannot aspire to simply because of her gender. That is – gender equality is absolutely critical, and at the very foundation of that is respect.”
Mr Turnbull outlined the following ways in which the federal government is currently improving gender equality:
- Workforce participation: “Female participation is at a record high. In fact it reached its record high in December, with 60,000 more women than men joining the workforce last year.”
- Gender pay gap: “The gender pay gap is still too big, but it has fallen from 17.3 per cent, from 17.9 per cent in May 2015 and all time high of 18.8 per cent in November 2014.
- More women on boards: “Boards are very important, because boards obviously choose senior executives, they choose CEOs, they’re very visible, they’re great role models. We have a BoardLinks program … that is critical for meeting the gender diversity target which has to date been at least 40 per cent of Australian Government board positions should be women. Well, that is now 50 per cent – we’ve increased that target to 50 per cent.”
Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash
In a media release, Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash said that
while Australia has a history of leading the way for women, we still have much work to do.
“Australia was the first country in the world to give women the right to sit in parliament and one of the first countries to give women the right to vote,” Minister Cash said.
“We have made great inroads into gender equality and consider ourselves as an egalitarian society, but the fact remains is we have inequality between the sexes that we have a responsibility to address.”
Delivering the International Women’s Day address to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Minister Cash said the government was focused on increasing women’s workforce participation and ensuring women are safe at home, safe on the streets and safe online.
“As the Minister for Women and Employment I am particularly excited about and focussed on the synergies between the two portfolios and the opportunities that exist to increase participation and financially empower women.”
“Policies such as reforming our tax and transfer system, strengthening childcare, improving workplace diversity and flexibility, and supporting more women to innovate, succeed as entrepreneurs and thrive in jobs of the future.”
For more information about International Women’s Day events visit http://unwomen.org.au/take-action/events/