Last Friday at the UN Breakfast celebrating 100 years of International Women’s Day I sat next to Rachel who keeps this pin inside her handbag and it stuck in my mind as I listened to the guest speaker Justice Unity Dow, and again last night as I watched a special screening of Made in Dagenham:
Whether it was the women on the machines at Ford, Unity Dow seeking to legitimise the birthright of her children or Edna Ryan fighting for equal pay for women here in Australia, these women weren’t afraid to speak their mind. This played a big role in the success of their campaigns for change.
Whether it’s about mandatory quotas for women on boards; tax deductibility of child care; the pay gap of 18%; that fewer than 25% of our MPs are women in parliament; or the dearth of women in executive and leadership roles… we still have a long way to go for women to realise true equality in Australia.
This year, on the 100 year centenary of International Women’s Day, I encourage you to ignore the advice you were given as a child, to be a “good girl”, to mind your manners and “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”.
This year I encourage you to speak your mind, to talk about the “right thing” to do for all women, to decree fairness and equality in pay. And above all, to celebrate your achievements and the contribution you make to all women.
For my part, you’ll see me live today on Channel 10 news launching the Make Care Fair campaign – I hope you’ll see me, spread the word and sign the petition in support of all working families.
And above all I hope you’ll have a Happy International Women’s Day!