Page 385 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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such as nursing, community services, child care, teaching and others that were dramatically affected by the ACT lockdown period but they are also the primary caregivers for children and elderly parents. So the constraints of the pandemic took a real toll on the health and wellbeing of women throughout Canberra and demonstrated an ongoing need for families to share the load.

This year International Women’s Day had two themes that were celebrated at various events: “Break the Bias” and “Changing Climates: Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”. I do love March now because there are so many International Women’s Day events that it is more like International Women’s Month.

There were a lot of events that many of us attended. The number of events continues to grow each year, with Canberra women, and of course men who support them, gathering to have important conversations about the issues women today are facing. But what is important is not just to have conversations but to effect change and make things different to how they were in the past.

Women in Canberra are resilient, they are empowered and they work hard, despite the obstacles that they may face. I would like to acknowledge that the ACT government is doing some great work in this space, but there are things that I think we can also improve on.

I would like to congratulate the minister. As she mentioned, the government has recently achieved its target of 50 per cent female representation on ACT government committees—in fact, just over 50 per cent. It is a wonderful achievement and I congratulate them on achieving it. However, there is still work to do in the private sector and a lot of work to do on equal gender representation on boards.

Minister Berry mentioned the ACT Women’s Plan earlier. The First Action Plan 2017-19 of the ACT Women’s Plan recommended that the ACT government establish procurement strategies that prioritise contractors with gender equity strategies. When I asked the minister recently how many ACT government tenders had been awarded to candidates with a gender equity strategy in the past four years, she was unable to answer, as this information is not reported on. It is frustrating to hear the government talk about inclusivity and improving gender equality when they are not measuring or tracking the initiatives or targets that they are putting in place. For all we know, there could have been zero tenders awarded to candidates with gender equity strategies over the past four years.

Also in the First Action Plan, there was a recommendation that the ACT government collect and analyse gender disaggregated data for ACT government services, programs and events. Yet when I asked the minister recently about gender disaggregated data on public transport uses, for instance, I found that we do not collect that information. This is despite some evidence and some claims that women have different travel patterns to men. This may be because they are more likely to work part time or in casual positions, and they may have caregiving duties or further responsibilities relating to unpaid work.

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