April 22nd, 2021
Gender equality was one of the nation’s most critical challenges and the future depended heavily on how we engaged with the issue now, Sam Mostyn, President of Chief Executive Women and Chair of Australians Investing in Women, told the Philanthropy Australia conference.
She said that just as the Black Summer bushfires had focussed attention on climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic had revealed issues confronting the health systems and the broader economy, the opening months of 2021 had provided real time a series of lived experiences, a showcase of disregard, disrespect and lack of safety confronting Australian women.
Sam said the issues had been “brought to disturbing life by the courage of young women’’, including Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame. The revelations, the debates and the marches in the first quarter of 2021 represented the “exasperation and exhaustion’’ of so many women she said.
International data last month revealed that Australia’s record on gender equality and women’s economic participation had fallen dramatically in the past 15 years: in 2006, Australia was ranked 15th overall on the international scale of gender equality. It is now 50th.
In 2006, it was ranked 12 on women’s economic participation: it has tumbled to 70th in this year’s survey.
Sam urged philanthropy to adopt a gender lens in how it approached its role to help Australia become a more inclusive and fairer society.
“I'd really love to encourage you to be great advocates beyond your giving - in the way you think about engaging issues,’’ Sam said. “You are great leaders, with a great voice beyond your philanthropy.’’
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