International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day provides all Australians with the opportunity to celebrate the progress made in advancing gender equality and the role of women in our society, while also encouraging us to continue to work together to create a world where the contribution of women is fully valued and appreciated.
Australia is a long-standing supporter and advocate of women’s rights, being one of the first countries to grant women’s suffrage and the first country where women could stand for election for national parliament. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act.
While our history is strong in this respect, we continue to pursue three key priority areas – improving women’s economic security and independence, ensuring women’s voices are heard at all levels of decision-making, and reducing violence against women.
UNIFEM Australia’s theme this year – Unite to End Violence Against Women – provides an opportunity to reflect upon this serious problem. In November 2008, Australia signed on to UNIFEM’s Say NO to Violence against Women campaign.
In May last year, the Government appointed a National Council to develop a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The Plan will aim to reduce the incidence and impact of sexual assault and domestic and family violence.
It will be a real step towards a world where relationships are based on mutual respect and where all women and girls are able to thrive and look ahead to a bright future.
Today, we celebrate the role of women in our lives, and their important contribution to society. Today we also focus on the need to advance further the opportunities for women and celebrate the progress that we have made thus far.