International Women’s Day at union, schools

Leeanda Smith
Relieving Women's Coordinator

Schools across the state celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 by holding a range of locally-organised events to highlight progress towards gender equality.

A large gathering at Federation House heard from speaker Kate Lee, Executive Officer Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, about its programs for women in developing nations. The occasion ended with a toast to International Women’s Day made by Senior Vice President Joan Lemaire.

The official IWD theme was “Be bold for change”. The UN asked that people take the #BeBoldForChange pledge and call for “a better working world — a more inclusive, gender-equal world”. United Voice scheduled a “Walk-out” for 3.20pm on March 8 to highlight the time women in Australia effectively start working for free because of the persistent gender pay imbalance. Many early childhood educators earn just $20 an hour, which is roughly half the average national wage.

Unions NSW coordinated the 2017 Sydney International Women’s Day March on March 11. This year’s theme was “Forwards Not Backwards”, drawing attention to the many ways that gender equality appears to slipping, particularly in health, economics, representation and safety.