Fight for Equality Still Rages On

The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia), March 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

Fight for Equality Still Rages On


WHO are the significant women in your life?

Who are the women who inspire and motivate you?

Which women offer you encouragement and hope?

Have you ever stopped to reflect on why these women are important in your life?

Next Sunday is International Women's Day. Events planned for March 8 each year remember the achievements of women in the past, and support those who strive to improve the social and personal circumstances of women into the future.

International Women's Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1909.

The initial gathering in Australia was held in Sydney's Domain in 1928.

Early celebrations were associated with the fledgling Feminist movement; they offered opportunities for women to take a stand together against the devastating wars which were part of the early years of the 21st century, to support the right of women to vote, and to mobilise their energies towards improving the conditions for women in the workforce.

That's fine, I hear you say, but why do we continue with this day? After all women now have the right to vote, they have as much opportunity as men to join the efforts of the peace movement, and they experience equality of access in the workplace.

That may be true for most women in developed nations, but let's look at some statistics.

In Queensland, women fill only 23.3 per cent of senior executive positions in the State Public Service; 14.9% of Queensland mayors are women, and females hold only 16.7% of District Court Judge positions.

Women are generally under-represented in leadership positions in both the private and public sector.

Men increasingly take greater responsibilities for parenting in families.

However, while 73% of employed mothers use flexible work arrangements to meet family responsibilities, only 33% of fathers take advantage of similar opportunities.

Indigenous women in Australia can expect to live 18 years less than other Australian women.

They are least likely of all Australians to be in the workforce and less than 10% of indigenous women have a post-school qualification.

It is estimated that, across the world, more than 500,000 women die each year as a result of complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. …

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