Australia, Let’s Say NO to Violence against Women and Children

Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick is a woman making a difference in the fight to put an end to violence against women and children.

On November 25, Commissioner Broderick marked the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with a formal statement calling for much stronger leadership in Australia to help end violence against our women and children:

“…men’s violence against women is Australia’s most significant gender equality issue. It is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality. Men’s violence against women is not a private or family matter. It is a national emergency as violence against women is occurring in epidemic proportions.”

Elizabeth Broderick Working to Improve Gender Equality

Since her appointment as Sex Discrimination Commissioner in September 2007, Commissioner Broderick has been working to improve gender equality for all Australians.

Her work includes advocating and championing changes for:

  • Australia’s national domestic violence reform
  • The national paid parental leave scheme
  • Complete elimination of violence and sexual harassment against women
  • Improvement of economic security for women
  • Balanced paid work as well as unpaid caring responsibilities
  • Changing the ASX Corporate Governance Principles to allow more women at decision making level
  • A ‘Male Champions of Change’, a collective of some of the nation’s most influential male chief executive officers and chairpersons. Their role is to put the issue of women’s representation in leadership on the national business agenda.

In addition, Commissioner Broderick led the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force (2011-2014). The Commissioner is now working with the Defence Force to introduce cultural changes across the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force. You can read more about Commissioner Broderick on her bio page.

It’s no surprise then that she has been named the overall Woman of Influence at the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards for 2014.

Big Numbers that Take Small But Powerful Actions to Reduce

In Australia,

  • Around 1.2 million women live in an intimate relationship where they are facing or have recently faced violence.
  • One in three women aged over 15 years has at some stage experienced some form of sexual or physical violence.
  • One or more women are murdered each week by their current or former partner – that’s 75 of our women per year.
  • At least 27 children are killed by their parents each year.

So what can we do to help reduce these numbers?

UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women also marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, challenging each one of us over the next sixteen days to commit to an act of courage per day. Looking at how we behave with the women in our lives and the examples we’re setting for others around us.

One particular quote from Commissioner Broderick I would like share before we part is from the Big Ideas Under the Dome Lecture in November 2014:

“When people ask me what will be my greatest achievement as Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, it won’t be my work with the military or the Male Champions of Change, it will be raising my son to believe that equality is the only path.”

Help End Violence against Women

If you’re planning to write about the 16 Days of Activism or are looking to promote on your social media pages, here are the themes the UN has mapped out for each day.

Messages for the 16 Days of Activism (25 November and 10 December):

Tuesday, 25 November: Violence against Women and girls

Wednesday, 26 November: Education and Training of Women

Thursday, 27 November: Women and Poverty

Friday, 28 November: Women and Armed Conflict

Saturday, 29 November and Sunday, 30 November: Men and Boys in Action to #orangeurhood

Monday, 1 December: Women and Health

Tuesday, 2 December: Women and the Economy

Wednesday, 3 December: Women in Power and Decision-Making

Thursday, 4 December: Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

Friday, 5 December: Women and the Media

Saturday, 6 December and Sunday, 7 December: Youth in Action to #orangeurhood

Monday, 8 December: Women and the Environment

Tuesday, 9 December: The Girl Child

Wednesday, 10 December: The Human Rights of Women

 

For more information, visit www.un.org/en/events/endviolenceday

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I’m curious to know if violence against women and children is a topic you talk about in your workplace or around the dinner table.

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