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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . .

Page.. 730..

Women's economic progress

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (11.00): Madam Speaker, today is a good time to provide a statement to the Assembly on the status of women as we celebrate International Women's Day.

I had been the Minister for Women for just over a month when our city was shaken by the deaths of two young women in suspected incidents of domestic violence. At the time, I picked up the phone to the ACT domestic violence sector and I asked them what they thought would be a good response to domestic violence and what a good response to domestic violence in this city should look like. They all had a different input, but without fail every one of them asked that whatever the ACT government did in response to this tragedy, we do it properly.

The differences and complexity of tackling domestic violence have never been far from my mind in the past year, and I am sure many others throughout this chamber have felt the same. In that time, I have had the privilege of working with Minister Corbell on cross-government priorities that work from early intervention to legal responses and on to post-violence support; with our local sector, whose commitment to breaking the cycle through innovation and collaboration is unparalleled; with Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, who are providing the national evidence base we need to drive innovation; and with my state and federal colleagues on developing and implementing the national plan and the national campaign that we will launch over the coming months.

Throughout all of this work there has been an emerging understanding across the country that we will not merely be able to arrest ourselves out of this problem. There is now a national consensus that ending domestic violence will require a generational attitudinal shift in the way that we value women throughout our society.

International Women's Day gives us an opportunity every year to ask whether we are driving that change across government and throughout our community. It is an opportunity to celebrate our social, economic, cultural and political differences and achievements, reflect on the challenges that remain on the path to equality and focus on action to improve gender equality for this generation of women and for the generations to follow.

This year for International Women's Day the theme is "Pledge for parity". And while we have much to celebrate today, progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. The World Economic Forum in 2014 predicted that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity at the current rate. Then, only one year later, in 2015, the forum estimated a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress. This means the gender gap will not close entirely until 2133. So, in 2016, to celebrate International Women's Day globally, nationally and locally, we are pledging for parity. I encourage each of you to be a leader within your own spheres of influence and commit to making pragmatic change to accelerate gender parity.

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