This year it was my honour to host an International Women’s Day event in partnership with the Melbourne Period Project building on the International Women’s Day theme: ‘Be Bold for Change’.

At this event in my electorate we were fortunate to hear from three incredible women: Labor’s Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek, social justice activist and columnist Van Badham and the CEO of Women’s Health in the North, Helen Riseborough.

We heard about the challenges that Australia still confronts in achieving gender equality in politics, society and health: there is a 20 per cent gender pay gap, one in three women are victims of family violence and 40 per cent of all retired single women live below the poverty line.

There is much more work to be done and the key message I heard on Friday night was one of action—get involved, join a local community group, join a union and get organised.

I also want to mention and acknowledge the backlash, abuse and dismissal women still face when they speak out publicly, whether that is to express a political opinion or to simply campaign against social injustice. It is a shameful thing. It occurs all the time in social media. It is one of our responsibilities to call it out when we see it occur.

Finally, I express my thanks to Tallboy & Moose, the venue which donated their space, and all the people who donated to the Melbourne Period Project on the night. Together we raised over $1,200 for support and hygiene products for homeless women.

28 February 2017.


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