Australian women’s alliance wants more government action on #MeToo

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 09: Brittany Higgins, a former Liberal Party staffer, greets guests after her address to the media at the National Press Club on February 09, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, advocates for sexual assault survivors, attended the National Press Club together. Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologized directly to Brittany Higgins when Parliament resumed this week. A formal recognition of past bullying, harassment and sexual assault to recognize all those who have suffered harm in Commonwealth workplaces has also been issued. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
  • A group of prominent Australian women are calling for structural reform for women’s rights in workplaces and public spaces.
  • The campaign calls on leaders to implement a range of policy solutions to tackle inequality.
  • The government responded by announcing that it would commit $189 million over the next five years.
  • Visit the Business Insider Australia homepage for more stories.

A video released on Sunday by a group of prominent Australians leading the country’s Me Too movement demands structural reform of women’s rights in workplaces and public spaces.

Launched on Tuesday ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD), the #SafetyRespectEquity campaign brings together a cohort of women who have been at the heart of Australia’s #MeToo movement in 2021, which had so far failed to enable women’s stories to break through and be brought into the media spotlight as they had done in the United States and Western countries.

“2021 has revealed how the safety, respect and equity of women in Australia are being denied and compromised. Individually and collectively,” journalist and activist Georgie Dent wrote in Women’s Agenda.

Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins, Chanel Contos, Julia Banks and Christine Holgate have drawn public attention to the ways women and children remain unsafe and undervalued in homes, workplaces, public spaces – and Parliament.

Tame, who was Australian of the Year in 2021, campaigned to overturn a law that banned survivors of sexual assault from speaking publicly about their experiences.

In February 2021, Brittany Higgins alleged that she had been raped by a colleague in her boss’s office in Parliament in 2019 and had spent the last year, along with Tame and other women, exposing the prevalence of sexual assault in Australian society.

Chanel Contos has started a petition calling for more comprehensive consent training to be mandatory in Australian schools.

They formed the coalition with former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate, Australian Council of Trade Union President Michele O’Neil, filmmaker, academic and First Nations advocate Larissa Behrendt, Paralympian gold medalist Madison de Rozario , former Sydney Mayor Lucy Turnbull, businesswoman Wendy McCarthy, ex-Liberal MP Julia Banks and The Parenthood director Georgie Dent.

Appeal to government policy

The campaign calls on leaders to implement a range of solutions to address inequality, including implementing the government’s 55 recommendations [email protected] report, acting on the National Plan for First Nations Women and Girls, closing the gender wage gap, including necessary legal reform, and expanding paid parental leave.

It also calls for a series of actions to tackle violence against women, including 10 days of paid leave for family and domestic violence, stronger and more consistent laws on child sexual abuse and the integrating consent education into schools, universities, workplaces and homes.

The new alliance comes amid more concrete evidence of structural and policy settings that actively disadvantage and harm women.

On Sunday, the Financial Sector Union revealed salary secrecy clauses entrenched the gender pay gap among Commonwealth Bank employees.

According to the survey, women believed they were paid less but felt powerless to complain or seek a review of their pay because they were not allowed to discuss pay and bonuses.

“When employees aren’t allowed to discuss salaries and bonuses with their co-workers, it allows managers to get away with making salary decisions based on conscious or unconscious biases,” the report said. .

“Salary confidentiality is well known to contribute to the gender pay gap,” he said.

Another area where the alliance will seek to push policy change forward is in the pensions sector, where the Australian Human Rights Commission says there remains a significant gap between men’s and women’s pension savings. Australians.

Half of all women ages 45-59 have $8,000 or less in their retirement fundcompared to $31,000 for men, the commission said, which accumulates through factors that promote inequality like the gender pay gap and family leave policies.

A new study by financial intelligence agency Rainmaker published by APRA shows that despite the pension system against them, women own $1.2 trillion in pensions.

However, despite being half the population, women only own $44 out of every $100 of pension savings in Australia.

Women also have more super in industry funds representing hospitality, healthcare and the public sector where women make up the majority of employees.

“Australian women keep 42% of their superannuation in industrial funds, 26% in SMSFs, 22% in retail funds, but only 8% in public sector funds and a tiny 2% in retail funds. ‘company,” said Alex Dunnin, executive director of research. and compliance at Rainmaker Information.

New government-led organization to address workplace culture

In response to pressure over the past year, the government has announced new funding to tackle inequality, including within the Australian government.

A landmark review in early 2021 by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, of the culture of the Federal Parliament found that one in three staff members surveyed had been sexually harassed and recommended a significant overhaul of its culture in Workplace.

The Morrison government announced on Sunday that it would spend $189 million over five years to strengthen prevention and early intervention efforts for family, domestic and sexual violence.

Of that, $104 million over five years will go to the primary prevention organization Our Watch, which will work to drive change in the business sector and raise awareness about gender-based violence.

Marise Payne, Minister for Women, said Our Watch would also develop safety programs for use in TAFEs, universities, media, workplaces and sports organisations.

“Our Watch will also strengthen its prevention efforts for LGBTIQA+ Australians, Australians with disabilities and migrant women and develop new resources to educate young people about consent,” Payne said.

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