UN Women Australia joins the March for Justice’s call for a safe and equal Australia. No human rights scourge is more prevalent than gender inequality. One of gender inequality’s most disturbing manifestations is violence against women and girls.
The last month has been a distressing time for our community. The brave disclosure by Brittany Higgins of her alleged rape within Parliament House, followed by several further disclosures of gendered violence, has rocked confidence in the safety of the Australian Parliament.
These events are not isolated incidents. Over the last decade, there have been too many examples of Australian Parliaments right across the country falling short of expectations in the community, with high profile incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based bullying and a toxic culture working against the election, participation and advancement of women.
Whether at home, on the streets, in schools, workplaces or during war, violence against women is a human rights violation that takes place in public and private spaces. Everyone has the right to be safe. Violence against women and girls must stop.
We call for gender equal leadership across all Australian Parliaments. We endorse the ratification of the ILO Convention on Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. We support the announcement that Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, will lead an independent inquiry into the culture of Parliament House, and also support full implementation of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s world-leading report, Respect@Work’s recommendations to ensure safety in all workplaces.
Survivors and their allies are relying on lawmakers to ensure all Australian Parliaments operate with the highest standards of integrity. We urge you to take a stand at this historic moment to guarantee a gender equal future free from gendered violence.