Media Release by The Hon Julie Bishop MP

International Women’s Day 2006 Women: Strength in Diversity

Initiatives to help reduce domestic violence and to support women in developing countries within our region were two highlights from today’s keynote address to the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2006 celebrations in Parliament House Canberra.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, said she was pleased to host the celebrations as part of her new role to improve the status of Australian women.

“This year’s IWD theme, Women: Strength in Diversity, honours the contribution of women in their many and varying roles with an emphasis on the economic, social, health, cultural and political achievements of women in Australia,” Ms Bishop said. The MC for the celebrations was Network Ten National News Presenter Natarsha Belling; other speakers were Manager of the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria; Joumanah El Matrah and Chair of SBS and successful business woman Carla Zampatti.

“IWD is not only a time for all women to celebrate the progress made, but also to contemplate those areas of women’s lives where more can be done,” she said.

Ms Bishop said that in Australia most women have access to a broad range of rights and responsibilities, however, many women in developing countries do not enjoy many things we take for granted.

“One of my key areas of interest will be working closely with my counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region on common issues affecting women,” she said.

“I will strive to build links between Australian women and those in our region to promote mentoring and development of leadership qualities, and opportunities.”

Ms Bishop also announced the re-launch of an education campaign to help reduce the incidence of domestic violence in this country. The campaign, first conducted in 2004, will recommence with a further $14 million in Australian Government funding.

“The campaign will increase awareness of what constitutes domestic violence and sexual assault, and reinforce the fact that no form of violence should be tolerated.”