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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 733 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

As I have said, much more needs to be done to bring women up to par with what their male counterparts are earning. The minimum wage claim of $25 a week, the subject of the motion Ms Gallagher moved yesterday, would make a great deal of difference to most of the women in the ACT in this category. I wish the ACTU the best of luck in achieving that $25 wage claim.

To conclude, I would like to wish everybody in this chamber and in the ACT a very happy International Women's Day. I hope it is the start of a move towards equality in our society.

MS TUCKER (4.49): I can see that Mrs Dunne wants to speak, so I will not take my full 10 minutes. Speakers have already covered very well the inequality for women. Women on the whole are still not experiencing equally the benefits of society, whether in a developing country or in our country. In our country we talk about the glass ceiling, but we need to talk about the cement floor. Many women are still incredibly oppressed by their living situation. There is no notion of looking at glass ceilings. It is about having the capacity to live in a reasonable way. Women still disproportionately experience poverty. They are more likely to be casual part-time workers. They are more likely to be victims of violence in our homes. They are more likely not to be able to support themselves comfortably in older age because of their less secure employment when they are of working age.

Much of the work that is done by women is still not accounted for. Marilyn Waring's book Counting for nothing clearly explains what we do not take into account in our systems and analysis of our GDP or our accounting systems. If we did take into account all the work women do, we would have a very different picture.

I was a bit intrigued to see Mr Cornwell's question on notice about the cost to ACT taxpayers and ratepayers of the celebration of International Women's Day and presentation of awards. That is such a simple question to ask on one level. I would love Mr Cornwell to read Marilyn Waring's book Counting for nothing. I think I might have to give it to him. It highlights the problem we have in the way we try to account for who is doing what. It is very interesting to me that a question like that can be asked.

I know Mr Cornwell's position. He is supporting people who feel aggrieved by special emphasis being given to women's days, women's issues and on so. We have heard Mr Cornwell speak on that, and of course it is his right to do so. It is also my right to respond, Mr Cornwell, which is what I am doing now.

The impact of conflict, globalisation and poverty on women has come up regularly on the international stage. Ms Gallagher has already given an overview. I will give a very brief one. I do not want to repeat what has already been said. The majority of the 1.5 billion people living on $1 a day or less are women. In addition, the gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty has continued to widen in the past decade. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the feminisation of poverty. This information comes from a data paper from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. It will be an agenda item at the next conference of the CPA in West Africa, which will look at gender politics and conflict.

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