Australia: at the human rights crossroads for women 

Presented by: Julie Oberin, National Chair, WESNET & CEO of Annie North Inc. and Margaret Augerinos, WESNET RRR Women's Rep & CEO of the Centre for Non Violence.  

Australia has seen increased gender responsiveness in many institutions throughout Australia including in government policies and in the establishment of a variety of gender-responsive organisations. Despite this women are far from being free from gender-based violence, stigma, stereotypes, discrimination and disadvantage. This presentation will discuss the progress Australia has made towards the Beijing Platform for Action on a number of fronts including shared prosperity and decent work, poverty (particularly older women), and social protection and social services, or lack of. It will also focus on the plight of refugees and the impact of climate change in Australia, specifically on women. Despite the current progress women in Australia are experiencing a rise in personal and structural back-lash on many fronts. This presentation will explore ways forward towards gender equality, women's safety, women's empowerment and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

This topic will focus on women being free from violence, stigma and stereotyping. It will include discussions related to gender-based violence on - poverty eradication, social protection and social services - women's participation, accountability to women, gender-responsive organisations and policies which have been established -the current issues around inclusion, inclusive development for Indigenous women, shared prosperity and decent work such as the gendered wealth gap, the gendered pay gap and the hierarchical status of work. 

The presentation also covers the experiences of immigrant and refugee women who come to Australia along with the unequal impact on women from climate change. The presentation will pose that despite the advances and the current challenges and barriers, Australia is at a crossroads to be able to advance meaningful and effective actions to implement the Beijing Platform for Action and to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Actions or outcomes from this event should be:

greater awareness about the barriers, challenges and opportunities Australia is facing so that other countries can mitigate potential risks for them following similar paths;
dialogue within the session from others who have ideas and actions to help fast track the implementations and mitigate backlashes;
knowledge, experience and learning exchange within the session between countries;
documented barriers, challenges and opportunities which civil society representatives can use in their own country and which Australian NGO's can also use back in Australia when talking to government and civil society representatives;
showcase the good initiatives Australia has made towards the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals;
highlight the backlash so that others can learn and prepare.

Australia is one of the countries leading the way in responding to gender-based violence and making a significant attempt in primary prevention work. It is a welfare state, has progressive policies and legislation and funded services. Despite this, there are parallel policies, legislation and services which undermine the good workaround gender equality and increasingly a backlash as progress is made. There are times when crossroads occur and societies can go one road or another. This event will focus on how we get to go down the right road.

Please note this event is now a webinar 

When: Noon, Wednesday 22 April 2020 (AEST - Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra)