8 Mar 2016
International Women’s Day celebrations kick off around the globe today and this year’s theme centres around women continuing globally to contribute to social, cultural and political achievement.
Long gone are the days when a bra-burning performance was the only way basic women’s rights could be defended. These days women are taking on and conquering a range of issues from gender equality and domestic violence through to taking control of their education, career choices and challenging the old glass ceiling debate.
And there’s no doubt we’ve come a long way, but there are still vast improvements to be made.
Sad face facts:
- The World Economic Forum predicted last year that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133.
- The Sex Discrimination Act became law in 1984 and prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, marital or relationship status, sexual orientation and gender identity (among other things). Can you believe that was only 30 odd years ago?
- Diversity Council Australia opened its doors in 1985 with a focus on the Australian business community’s commitment to equal opportunity for women. Despite ongoing efforts, they maintain that women’s underemployment has doubled, the gender pay gap has increased again and that women are increasingly relegated to part time work which is very often low paid and low status.
Happy face facts:
- A 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics survey showed that 82% of women aged between 20 and 24 had attained year 12 qualifications or above (compared to only 52% in 1986).
- The same survey showed that 31% of women have obtained a Bachelor Degree or higher (compared to a miniscule 5% in 1984).
- The Department of Education and Training’s 2015 first half year statistics also showed that over half (55.5% in fact) of the year’s commencing students were women.
- And on celebratory end note, Diversity Council Australia’s CEO, Lisa Annese has confirmed that “economists have now clearly established that increasing the workforce participation of women offers one of the greatest opportunities to increase global productivity”. Our governments and employers clearly need to step up!
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