Words matter. As does attendance and being seen in the community you would like to represent when you decide to stand for election to public office.
Tonight a forum will be held on women's issues in the Illawarra. Three female stalwarts from the region's community set up the event to ensure women from all backgrounds had the answers available to them when they went to the polls.
Over the past few weeks, they've diligently organised tonight's event. They plan to livestream it on the Illawarra Mercury's Facebook page to make it equitable and enable all women from all backgrounds to watch wherever they are.
Questions asked on the night have been carefully considered and are aimed toward policy and action rather than gotcha moments.
Every candidate standing for election in Cunningham and Whitlam was given the opportunity to attend or provide their answers in lieu by video or written form.
On page 8 of today's Mercury we outline some of the comments organisers received when Liberal Democrat candidate for Cunningham Michael Glover declined his invitation to participate.
His words appear to dismiss the females he'd like to represent in parliament.
Former deputy chair of the ABC, Dr Kirstin Ferguson, analysed the frequency of words spoken by Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese over the past month.
The language used in pressers, doorstops, speeches and interviews make it clear that women's issues are not at the forefront of the political agenda, and it has been said that women's issues are not a vote winner.
Out of Morrison's 190,000 words spoken, 'childcare' was uttered four times.
Women's safety, gender equality, violence against women, domestic abuse, coercive control, sexual harassment and consent never got a look in for either Morrison or Albanese.
'Mate' was said 17 times by Morrison and 14 times by Albanese.
When leaders cannot sit down and discuss women's issues, and when the words women use to describe their reality are not spoken out loud in debate, what hope do we have for an equitable future?
- Gayle Tomlinson
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