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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 709 ..

International Women’s Day

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (12.24): Madam Speaker, as the Minister for Women and the Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, I am happy to once again mark International Women’s Day by providing a statement to the Assembly outlining the work undertaken this year to improve the status of women and girls in the ACT.

Since the first formal International Women’s Day in 1911, much progress has been made towards gender equity through the dedicated and determined efforts of women, communities and governments. Although women have the right to vote and access to equal pay for the work they do, they continue to experience barriers and challenges to fully and equally participating in our community.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Press for progress”, is an important reminder that on current projections Australia is still over 200 years away from gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 global gender gap report. It highlights that now more than ever there is a need to press forward.

The ACT government is working hard to break down barriers and create pathways for women and girls to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Employment and economic security are critical. Women on average will retire with less superannuation and fewer savings and are less likely to be home owners. They often carry the majority of the responsibility for unpaid domestic work and unpaid care for either younger or aging family members.

In the ACT public service, women are still paid less than their male counterparts, with a gender pay gap of 3.1 per cent, a figure which has been reduced by half a percent from June 2016 to June 2017. This presents a much better picture than the ACT gender pay gap, which has risen this year by 1 per cent to 12.6 per cent, and the national gender pay gap, which currently sits at 15.3 per cent. The volatility of these figures shows us that it is imperative to progress ongoing initiatives in order to make real and lasting change and that, if we do not, things can quickly slip backwards.

The ACT women’s plan 2016 to 2026, which I launched and tabled here in August 2016, outlines our commitment to support women to reach their potential, contribute to innovation and ideas and take up leadership positions. The women’s plan has a particular emphasis on improving outcomes for women who are vulnerable or experiencing discrimination, including women with disability, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, older women, women heading single-parent families and women who are socially isolated.

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