Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 671 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
Mr Pratt talked about people across the world in transit in refugee stations whose husbands, fathers and brothers have been killed in genocides, wars and atrocities. We should not be politicising these people: we should be working to make their lives better, not just on Saturday but every day.
MRS CROSS (4.55): Mr Deputy Speaker, it is interesting-it is a bit like the multicultural SBS/ABC thing yesterday-how the major parties are represented on this issue, given that it is so important.
I want to congratulate Ms MacDonald for bringing this MPI forward. I think what you have done is great, Ms MacDonald. The history of International Women's Day is rather fascinating and enlightening. The first International Women's Day was held on 19 March 1911 in Germany, Austria and Denmark. This date was chosen by German women because on that day the Prussian king, who was facing an uprising, promised many reforms. Amongst them was one which would give women the right to vote.
Russian revolutionary and feminist, Alexandra Kollontai, who was in Germany at the time of the first International Women's Day, wrote with great excitement of that day:
... exceeded all expectations. It was one seething, trembling sea of women. Men stayed at home with their children, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to the meetings.
I wonder who would look at this chamber now and see the women here assembled as a "trembling sea of women"?
Mr Hargreaves: What, both of them?
MRS CROSS: I know. It is riveting, isn't it. At least we have got Ms Gallagher in the gallery.
Alas, as far as representation goes, the federal parliament has nothing more than a trickle of women through its hallowed hallways. Since those early days, International Women's Day has gone through highs and a number of lows, but it remains a day that centres on pushing women's issues onto the political agenda.
On the 50th anniversary of International Women's Day in 1960, over 720 delegates from 73 countries met at a conference in Copenhagen. The conference adopted a general declaration of support for the political, economic and social rights of women.
During the International Year of Women in 1975 the United Nations gave official recognition to International Women's Day, and the day was adopted by many countries which had not heard, or known, of International Women's Day.
In Cuba, where International Women's Day-and I know Mr Hargreaves is very excited about Cuba-was already recognised by the government, 1975 was chosen to announce a campaign which went against deeply entrenched macho practices and attitudes. The campaign list included a change in the marriage code which made housework the