On International Women’s Day

On International Women's Day

Melanie Wegener

March 8 marks International Women’s Day.

People around the world take time to reflect on what the past looked like for women, what it looks like now and what we hope to see in the future. It is about education. It is about coming together. It is about action. It is about change.

Women deserve to be paid more for what they do. Women often undertake unpaid caring roles to take care of children, grandchildren and ageing parents. They do an unfair share of unpaid domestic labour in the home. In many cases, their superannuation balances are lower than men and their time out of the workforce has set them back in their careers. They don’t have the savings to afford their own housing when relationships break down. Sadly, women in their fifties are the fastest-growing group of homeless Australians.

Whilst I am grateful for living in a safe country, women here are still murdered by their partners and children by their fathers. On average one woman a week dies at the hands of her current or ex-partner. This is not okay.

Women around the world are persecuted and abused and silenced. Girls are not allowed to go to school.

Enough is enough.

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity.

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity. IWD

International Women’s Day is an important date in the calendar.

How can you get involved?

You can attend an event near you.

You can plan an event.

You can spread the word on social media.

You can reach out to a woman who is struggling. Listen, be there for her, and offer advice and support if needed. Let her know that she is not alone. 1800 RESPECT and White Ribbon are both great resources and helplines.

I’d like to share a short poem that I wrote to mark this International Women’s Day.

For those who went before, 

for which it was tough,

where the work in the home 

was considered enough. 

For some this was fine, 

loved their homemaker role, 

others longed for more, 

from deep in their soul.

They wanted careers,

to live out their dreams,

be respected and valued,

to simply be seen. 

They wanted independence,

earn their own cash,

financial security 

if they needed to dash. 

They wanted to vote,

make a contribution,

be seen as equal,

change the constitution. 

Caring for children

and parents too,

overworked, unpaid,

it’s just what they do.

The domestic duties,

unglamorous tasks,

she makes it get done

without being asked.

The dinner and dishes, 

constant and mundane,

organising and buying,

so much on the brain.

As sad as it is

you will still find,

in this twenty first century 

some things lag behind.

Men it’s master or mister,

depending on age,

women it’s Miss, Mrs, Ms

based on your life stage.

The pay gap is real,

ladies get less,

even the same job,

how is this progress?

Many in caring roles

paid less than their share,

disadvantaged in life and

it doesn’t seem fair.

So on this International

Women’s Day,

I’m grateful that society

has come a long way.

I can work, vote and drive,

make a contribution,

but some girls today are 

still at risk of persecution.

For those living in places

that denies their rights, 

we won’t stop praying 

and fighting for your plight. 

I hope for our daughters sake,

our granddaughters too,

we make more strides –

it’s been long overdue.

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