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​International Women’s Day is still relevant: Our Watch Ambassadors

March 08 2015 By Hannah Grant, Media Relations Officer, Our Watch

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women around the world and call for further progress towards global gender equality. While there have been many achievements towards gender equality, many serious gaps remain.

Image of Elizabeth Broderick, Khadija Gbla, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO and Charlie Pickering Image

Women working full time in Australia earn on average 18.8% less than men working fulltime. Of all CEO's in Australia, less than 1 in 5 are women. Of all Chairs of organisations, only 1 in 10 are women. 

International evidence tells us that in countries where there are greater levels of gender equality there are lower rates of violence against women. With 16 women murdered by a current or former intimate partner already this year, we MUST focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality and mobilise everyone to do their part.

We asked our brilliant Our Watch Ambassadors why they thought International Women’s Day is still relevant in 2015, and this is what they said:

Lieutenant General David Morrison AO - Chief of the Australian Army

“International Women’s Day focuses the minds of the public, the government and corporations on areas where gender gaps still exist. It is a day for the celebration of women’s accomplishments but also for introspection, a day to tackle difficult questions about how we increase the number of women in leadership positions, about how we support and empower women.”
 

Miranda Tapsell - film, TV, and theatre actor
 
"I hope on International Women's Day, Australians truly consider what we can do to improve gender inequality. And that this conversation includes all women and men. I feel sometimes when we talk about gender inequality and the physical violence that can often stem from that, the conversation doesn't always include Aboriginal women, or any other women of colour for that matter. I was shocked to learn that women of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, my own heritage, are not only 35 times more likely to end up in hospital because of a family violence related assault than other Australian women; they are are twice as likely to die as an outcome of family violence compared to other Australian women. One woman's experience shouldn't overshadow another. I hope this attitude can change as we change together and that International Women's Day is a sentiment we celebrate everyday. We cannot afford to leave anyone out of this conversation. We cannot afford to leave any woman behind. It's simple, the number of Indigenous women affected by domestic violence should be the same as the number of non-Indigenous...zero"  

Khadija Gbla - human rights activist

“International Women’s day for me is a celebration of all women, everything that makes us women and our achievements in a powerful and positive way. It is also a day that brings tears to my eyes when I reflect on struggles of women and the girl child in the area of violence against women including Female Genital mutilation. It is a day for us to call to action our government, businesses and civil society and every single one of us to work together to better the status of women.” 

Charlie Pickering - writer, TV presenter and broadcaster

“International Women's Day is a celebration of the idea of equality. It's a great opportunity to remind ourselves of the remarkable achievements of women around the world, but also how far we have yet to go to achieve the respect and enfranchisement of all people.”

Elizabeth Broderick - Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner

“As we celebrate the achievements of not just women in Australia, but women globally for International Women's Day, it's also important to reflect on the challenges that lie ahead. One of the gravest human rights abuses in our Australia today is violence against women and their children. The amount of women living in a relationship characterised by violence globally now outstrips the amount of people who are malnourished on the planet. That’s 980 million women. It will take every one of us to remove the blight of violence against women from society.”

Find out what you can do to prevent violence against women and their children