Tuesday, March 08, 2011

international womens day turns 100

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of International Women's Day, a global day connecting women around the world to inspire them to reach their full potential.

The day celebrates the achievements of women politically, socially and economically around the world. In 1893, New Zealand women were the first in the world to gain the right to vote in a national election. Australian women had to wait to 1903 where women first voted in the second federal election.

Prior to gaining the right to vote women were often depicted as weak, too emotional and incapable of decision making. Given the current scrutiny of women leaders, their wardrobe, their hair, their emotional state I wonder how far we have come.

There has been a lot of progress but there is still much to be done. It is hard to believe that in 2011 women do not get equal pay for equal work. In local government only 20% of women are represented in management roles, 5% of CEOs or Directors are women and less than 30% of councillors are women.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges has been a keen participant in the Local Government Women's Charter Project, a project to assist councils to adopt the Victorian Local Government Women's Charter. Last year I was nominated as "Charter Champion", to advocate for the charter's implementation and to encourage participation by councillors, officers and community in local events.

Yarra Ranges has made great progress implementing our charter. We've established a Women in Local Government Working Group, held the immensely successful Women's Panel Be Inspired event in November, 2010, the event was so successful that we're planning another one for 2011.

Most recently we held an online Women in Local Democracy (WILD) forum, which included 268 site visitors, 65 comments and 38 downloads, including the Women's Charter.

This survey is from our recent WILD Forum.

We're also in the process of developing a Promoting Respectful Relationships forum and exploring plans to host a pre election workshop for women before the 2012 council elections.

International Women's Day is a great day to celebrate the wonderful contribution by women to our community at every level.

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