The celebration of International Women’s Day is a day that touches the hearts of many women in the community.
We pause to reflect upon the many achievements of the women’s movement, and on the challenges that still confront women achieving full equality.
We think about women here in Australia, and also of the plight of women who live in countries less fortunate than our own.
Women have not yet achieved equality with men, either in our personal relationships with men, or more broadly at a societal level. I will provide a stark example of this inequality abroad, but will start first here at home, in Australia.
I hear many women complain about their relationships with men. There are some dramatic examples that I hear about in my daily work – men who still attempt to control, abuse or demean women in their work and personal relationships.
There are many examples of women being subject to physical, sexual or psychological violence by men. Less dramatically, many women still complain about men not meeting them in equal partnership in their personal relationships, for example, not doing their fair share of household domestic labour or in regard to rearing children.
We know that there are plenty of excellent men out there, but we must continue to challenge men to meet us half way in our personal and working relationships as part of the ongoing effort to achieve genuine equality.
In regard to the challenges faced by women abroad, one of the more stark examples in the past 12 months was of the 14-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants after she continued to advocate for the right of girls to be educated.
Malala is now in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her efforts bring into stark focus that the work of the women’s movement is far from done, as women all over the world still cannot enjoy their full complement of rights due to their gender.
We wish Malala – and all other women who fight for justice and equality in their communities - all the best in their campaigns.
Carol Berry is the CEO of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre which aims to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for women across the Illawarra. To contact Carol email firstname.lastname@example.org.