International Women's Day (IWD) is a global event that is celebrated annually on March 8th. It’s a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while also raising awareness about gender equality and women's rights. In Australia, IWD has become a significant event that brings people together to celebrate the progress made in women's rights and highlight the challenges that still exist.
History of International Women's Day in Australia
International Women's Day has a rich history in Australia, dating back to the early 20th century. In 1908, the first Women's Day was observed in New York City, and in 1910, the idea of an international day for women was proposed at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. In 1911, IWD was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
In Australia, the first IWD was celebrated in 1928. The day was used to draw attention to the unequal pay and working conditions that women faced in the workplace. The Australian government did not officially recognize IWD until 1975 when the United Nations declared it an international day for women.
Since then, IWD has become an important event in Australia, with numerous activities and events taking place across the country to celebrate the progress made in women's rights and to raise awareness about the issues that still need to be addressed.
What International Women's Day Means in Australia
International Women's Day means different things to different people, but in Australia, it is a day to celebrate women's achievements, recognize the progress that has been made in women's rights, and acknowledge the challenges that still exist.
One of the main focuses of IWD in Australia is the gender pay gap. Despite progress in recent years, women in Australia still earn less than men, with the pay gap sitting at around 14% according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This means that women earn, on average, $251 less per week than men. IWD is an opportunity to raise awareness about this issue and call for action to address the gap.
IWD in Australia is also an opportunity to highlight the challenges that women face in other areas, such as workplace discrimination and gender-based violence. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, one in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and one in five has experienced sexual violence. IWD is an opportunity to raise awareness about these issues and call for action to address them.
IWD is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in Australia. Australian women have made significant contributions in various fields, including politics, science, arts, and sports. For example, Julia Gillard became Australia's first female Prime Minister in 2010, and Cathy Freeman won a gold medal in the 400m sprint at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
International Women's Day Events in Australia
IWD is celebrated in Australia through various events, including marches, rallies, and conferences. These events bring people together to raise awareness about women's rights and highlight the challenges that still need to be addressed.
One of the largest IWD events in Australia is the annual March4Justice. The march was first held in 2019 and has since become a significant event in the country. The march is organised by women's rights groups and calls for action to address gender-based violence and the gender pay gap. In 2021, the March4Justice gained international attention when thousands of women across Australia participated in rallies and marches.
Other IWD events in Australia include conferences and seminars that focus on women's issues, such as workplace discrimination and gender-based violence. These events bring together experts, activists, and community members to discuss these issues and develop strategies for addressing them.