Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Newsroom Archive: Feb 2016

  1. 29 February 2016

    Esprit partners with UN Women NC Australia for International Women’s Day – launching purple charity scarf for sale online and in-store

    • Purple charity scarf will launch in stores on February 29, to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 
    • 100 per cent of the sales of the scarves will go to preventing violence against women & girls in the Pacific, which will be the focus of campaigning in 2016 
    • Head of UN Women NC Australia declares that violence against females in the Pacific has reached “epidemic” proportions, with two in three women experiencing violence and abuse at the hands of those closest to them 
    • In some parts of the region, as many as 100% of women report experiencing violence. 

    Esprit has teamed up with UN Women National Committee (NC) Australia to launch a purple scarf to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.  The accessory will be available in stores from February 29 and 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the scarves will go to helping prevent violence against women & girls in the Pacific.

    Chris Laverty, head of Esprit Australia said, “We are supporting UN Women NC Australia for the fourth year in a row because in our minds there are few issues more vital, nor more urgent than addressing the continued levels of violence against women and girls in the Pacific.”

    Julie McKay, head of the UN Women NC Australia, says the Pacific region is the “epicentre” for violence against females.

    Violence often begins at an early age: in Vanuatu for example, 30% of women experience child sexual abuse under the age of 15, whilst 41% report a forced first sexual experience.  In Fiji, one third of females who experience violence are girls under 16.

    In addition, 20% of all Esprit sales instore and online from March 5 and 6 will be donated to advance UN Women’s work to eliminate violence against women in the Pacific.

    About the Scarf

    The scarf has been colour matched to represent the official International Women’s Day purple hue.  Soft and lightweight, this accessory is perfect for transeasonal layering.  The scarves are available for purchase in freestanding Esprit stores in Australia and New Zealand, Myer concessions stores and online at

    Scarves will be sold for $39.95 in Australia and $49.90 in New Zealand. Esprit stores will also be selling International Women’s Day purple ribbons for $3 each.

  2. 26 February 2016

    Platinum Partner Aurizon launches bold new parenting initiative

    On 27 February Aurizon launched a bold new initiative to incentivise ‘dads’ to take on a greater share of parenting responsibilities.

    Aurizon’s new ‘Shared Care’ initiative provides a financial incentive based on ‘half-pay’ for a partner to take a leave of absence to stay at home and care for their child in their first year, allowing the mother to return to work full-time.

    Aurizon are pleased the initiative increases options for our male employees and ensures women will benefit by reducing the potential career and financial impacts of unpaid parental leave and periods of part-time employment.

    To access the initiative Aurizon male employees are required to take on primary care of their child for at least 13 weeks during their child’s first 12 months, while their partner returns to full time work. In this scenario the man would receive 50% of his salary while he is undertaking full time care of his child, up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

    A female Aurizon employee who returns to full time work in the first year after her child is born and whose partner has taken on full time care of their child in that period (and takes leave without pay from his employer to do so) will receive 150% of her salary, also up to a maximum of 26 weeks. The ‘Shared Care’ paid is inclusive of all Aurizon families including same sex couples, single parents, birth parents and adoptive parents.

    Aurizon believes the initiative is the first of its kind in corporate Australia, which makes us very proud to lead by example in changing the way our society thinks about childcare and workplace flexibility. Aurizon hopes other organisations will see the benefits of this and follow their lead.

    Aurizon Managing Director &CEO Lance Hockridge said Aurizon was taking a deliberate interventionist approach in its bid to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

    “We’ve thought outside the box to genuinely alter the dynamics of childcare responsibilities within Aurizon families. At its core this is really about reducing the potential career and financial impacts women face after extended unpaid parental leave and subsequent part-time employment, ” he said.

    “We know that it won’t be for everyone, but we believe it can start to change the nature of the conversation that soon-to-be parents have ‘round the kitchen table’ when thinking about the future,” he said.

    “We believe the program is the first of its kind in Australia, which makes us very proud to lead by example in changing the way our society thinks about childcare and workplace flexibility. Equalising caring responsibilities would be a big step forward.”

  3. 23 February 2016

    Fiji Cyclone Appeal

    On Saturday 20 February 2016, Fiji was hit by the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Wind gusts of over 300kmph flattened villages, destroyed crops and damaged critical infrastructure. Around 98% of the population has been affected, the majority of whom are women and children.

    People like Sofia. Pictured here at her farm, Sofia explains: “We placed so much expectation on our farm to help us pay for our expenses, including my children’s education and medicine. We need to salvage what we can to help us cover our expenses.”

    The women of Fiji already faced rates of violence double the global average and the aftermath of the cyclone puts women at an even greater risk of sexual or physical assault, even as they work to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Local organisations that offer women and girls support and shelter have also been devastated and are struggling to continue to provide services to women and girls who need them more than ever.

    Meanwhile, the destruction of market buildings and crops not only deprives thousands of women and their families of a secure food supply, but also their main source of income.

    Women in Fiji need somewhere to turn if they experience violence and support in rebuilding their livelihoods

    UN Women is providing organisations with the funds and technical support they need to continue offering essential services to the women and girls of Fiji, while also working with local partners to create temporary market spaces that give women opportunities to sell their produce and access essential information about relief and protection services.

    UN Women will also be working with partners to provide women market vendors with tools, supplies, seeds and training so they can replant their gardens and get back on their feet as quickly as possible; while also working with local governments to rebuild market buildings that have either been severely damaged or completely destroyed.

    Your tax-deductible contribution will support UN Women’s emergency relief and recovery efforts in Fiji, to protect the most vulnerable women and girls. Donate now.

    _DSC0001(Sofia on farm) (002)

    Market vendor Sofia Talei at her farm in Tailevu, Fiji. Her crops were severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston. It will take at least four months to re-grow even the fast-growing plants. Photo credit: UN Women/Eva Schroeder

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