The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March), was “Changing climates: Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. To mark the occasion, the IEU held an online gathering of members and staff, attended a march in Newcastle and a dinner in Bathurst (themed #BreakTheBias), and joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions' online event. Here are a few highlights.
International Women’s Day 2022
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch President
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, we can be pleased with some achievements; however, we must focus on what still needs to be done. During 2021 and 2022, several very brave and courageous young women have stood up and spoken out about sexual abuse in the workplace.
“We as educators are in the driver’s seat to talk with and listen to our young students – both girls and boys – on this topic of gender equality, sexual abuse and domestic violence in the workplace and society. We need to empower them to speak out to put a stop to this.
“Gender pay inequality is still a persistent issue in Australia and continues to disadvantage women who are retiring with less superannuation than men due to their pattern of work. This results in women being homeless and vulnerable and it needs to be addressed.
“Together we can make changes, but we must be prepared to stand up to be heard, make noise and rattle governments. It is our future, so let’s make it a happy and healthy one.”
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Assistant Secretary
“With IEU membership at over 76 percent women, the IEU offers a Women and Equity Committee – a network of women members who connect online and in person to advance the union’s equity and inclusion agenda. On International Women’s Day, we promote the union’s focus on pushing for fair pay for teachers and support staff in all schools and early childhood centres.”
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Deputy President and secondary school teacher
“A teacher is a teacher regardless of the cohort they teach. Early childhood teachers have a university degree and should not be penalised financially – either in their pay packet or in the future – with less superannuation.
“The early childhood profession is, as we know, predominately a female workforce. Rates of pay in early childhood should be the same as for school teachers.
“Education and care of children before school needs to be free – but if not free, then affordable and accessible.”
Tanya Plibersek MP
Federal Member for Sydney
Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for Women
“You all know the story of International Women’s Day: it was unionists who started it and socialists who kept it going.
“I’m so proud of this generation of young women – Brittany Higgins, Grace Tame, Chanel Contos and Saxon Mullins – they've been working successfully on consent law reform and consent education. These are fierce young women and I’m so proud of them.
“Labor’s industrial relations policies would make it easier to reduce the gender pay gap; to pay women in low-paid, female-dominated industries more; and to address casualisation and the gig economy. We know that unless women have economic security and independence, they don’t have the choices we want them to have. And that’s particularly true for women who are victims of domestic violence.”
NSW Member for Lismore
“Housing is a big issue: we already had a housing affordability, supply and homelessness crisis here, which impacted heavily on women in our community – a lot of single older women. We really need to address housing and financial security.“We’ve never made any gains for women by asking politely. It’s OK to ask politely – but then we don’t go away and we have to ramp it up.”
Monica Crouch Journalist