Time to bridge gender gap

March 08, 2018

Australian deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek delivers an International Women’s Day address at the National Press Club in Canberra.

International Women’s Day is a major global event that will be widely celebrated in some countries and virtually ignored in others.

It celebrates women’s achievements — from political to the social — while calling for gender equality.

Not only is IWD an important day, it remains as relevant as ever and is a required celebration.

The original aim of the day — to achieve gender equality for women of the world — is yet to be achieved.

Not in Third-World countries, nor in First-World countries.

Pessimists may raise questions about the point of the day, with some going so far as to call it sexist.

But look at a country like Saudi Arabia, which until September last year, argued and argued about letting women drive.

It eventually agreed to end a long-standing policy that became a global symbol of oppression.

However, the change will not take effect until June this year — meaning there is still time for Saudi leaders to have a change of heart.

A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are not present in equal numbers in business or politics.

Globally, figures still show that women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that towards men.

PricewaterhouseCoopers believes violence against women costs the Australian economy $21.7 billion each year and without action would add up to $323.4 billion by 2045.

Yesterday, Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said Australia couldn’t wait 30 years for equal political representation and couldn’t wait 50 years to close the pay gap.

’’In 1972 we said ‘it’s time’. In 2018, women are saying ‘time’s up’,’’ she said.

Women constantly face a juggling act between family, career and self-care.

Fewer large Australian companies are run by women than are run by men named John. Or Peter. Or David.

We are get(ting) there as a nation but let’s get there.

There is much work to be done in Australia. There is much work to be done everywhere.

The time is now.

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