International Women’s Day: more work required to reach gender parity

Published on Tue 27 February 2018 1:48pm

Mr Wilson (1:48pm) — I would like to acknowledge in advance International Women’s Day. This year’s theme ‘Press for progress’ is a call for renewed effort at a point when some worldwide gains have begun to slip. In 2017 gender parity went backwards for the first time since the World Economic Forum began measuring it. Australia has fallen to 46th out of 144 countries in terms of the global gender gap, and the national pay gap has remained stuck around 15 per cent for the last 20 years.

We know that women are more likely to be casual employees, are more likely to be made redundant and currently retire with less than half the superannuation of men. An estimated 39 per cent of single women retire into poverty. On the positive side, I welcome the initiatives taken by the WA Labor government that have been led by my friend and fellow Fremantle representative Simone McGurk, the first Minister for Women’s Interests and Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence. The WA government has introduced 10 days of domestic violence leave for all public servants and is seeking to amend tenancy laws to allow the early termination of a lease in circumstances of domestic violence.

Last year marked the first season of a national AFL league for women. When the Dockers played and won a game against Collingwood at the new Perth Stadium early this month they set a new record for attendance at a women’s sporting event. I join with my community and I’m sure with all members in this place in looking forward to International Women’s Day and in resolving to press for progress. It’s an effort that does require policy and program action much more than platitudes.

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