Australian government, political and defence force leaders came together at Parliament House this morning to officially launch the Australian celebrations of International Women’s Day – ahead of the UN Global Day of Observance on 8 March.
Co-hosted by the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, and the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Leader of the Opposition, the annual UN Women Australia event brings together the leaders and decision makers of our nation to celebrate the progress made and the commitment required to achieving gender equality and SDG 5.
The Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Minister for Foreign Affairs each addressed the event, speaking to the importance of International Women’s Day, which this year centres on the need for economic inclusion and investment to accelerate progress for women and girls everywhere.
“The lead-up to International Women’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to recognise the progress that women are driving across our economy and our society”, said the Prime Minister.
“It’s a chance to re-affirm our commitment to true gender equality – in the community, the boardroom, on the sporting field, in our parliaments. Above all, this is a time when we must face-up to where we are falling short and look for new ways to do better.”
The Foreign Minister said, “The aspirations we champion in our region – peace, stability and prosperity – can only be achieved if we continue to see progress on gender equality. When women and girls are empowered, and barriers to participation are removed, economies grow faster.”
UN Women Australia Chair, Georgina Williams, emphasised how when women are empowered to have their own voice, agency, and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels of society, everyone benefits.
“Women’s economic empowerment has such a large impact on an individual country’s enduring economic, health, education, and political and cultural stability success measures. It’s the basis of movement in almost every other gender statistic.”
Simone Clarke, CEO UN Women Australia, acknowledged the longstanding support and partnership of the Australian government, demonstrated through its continued investment for women and girls in the region.
“We’re able to provide access to education, training and financial literacy, enabling women to learn the vital skills necessary to lift themselves out of poverty, gain financial independence and build a sustainable future for themselves, their families and even their communities.”
The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’.
Based on the priority theme for the United Nations 68th Commission on the Status of Women, ‘Count Her In’ will examine the pathways to greater economic inclusion for women and girls everywhere.
UN Women Australia will be holding IWD events in, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, as well as a live virtual stream of all events on Friday, 8 March 2024.