Page 382 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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Status of women and girls in the ACT

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.58): As Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, I welcome the opportunity to acknowledge International Women’s Day, which occurred on 8 March, by providing a statement to the Assembly on the status of women and girls in the ACT.

I am tabling a longer statement which provides a more substantial overview, but in this shorter statement I would like to reflect specifically on some of the challenges and achievements of 2021. Although this statement is specifically about the status of women and girls, I am using these terms inclusively, referring to anyone who describes themselves as a woman or non-binary.

I would like to begin this statement by acknowledging that 2021 was a challenging year for many in the ACT, and women were significantly affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Women are working on the front line of this pandemic, in female-dominated healthcare and social assistance workforces. They are also over-represented in less stable employment, including casual work without access to paid leave.

Throughout the pandemic, many women working from home have borne the heavy load of remote learning and unpaid care work. For some women this has resulted in decreased work hours and negative impacts to their mental health. Yet, despite the many challenges the pandemic continues to pose, women in our community have demonstrated tremendous resilience and have been integral to our community’s ongoing recovery.

In understanding the significant challenges many women experienced in 2021, including the pressures on their health, time and economic security, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the commitment, resilience and ongoing support provided to our community by the women’s sector. The efforts of the women’s sector in 2021 are to be truly commended, particularly given the complex and ongoing nature of the pandemic.

Despite its challenges, 2021 saw significant advancements in the second year of implementation of Equity Together, the Second Action Plan 2020-22 under the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-26. After two years of implementation, six of the 29 actions in Equity Together have already been fully delivered and the rest are now all underway. These actions were the result of extensive consultation. We have listened and acted on what our community has told us.

I am happy to report that recent work led by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate has seen the ACT government complete action 4.1 of the Second Action

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