In the month of International Women’s Day, it is easy to focus on the negatives and talk about how much still needs to be done.

It is a day defined as being “about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action for women.” The first National Women’s Day was observed across the United States in 1911. 

International Women’s Day was born out of the first wave of feminism, caught in the midst of the rise of radical ideologies and a period of booming expansion. Women everywhere were coming together for one cause: to gain equal legal rights.

As Gloria Steinem said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” 

However, as many focus on the issues and challenges, we think we need to recognise how much progress we have made in the past 100 + years.

What have we achieved in Australia?

1902                White women were given the right to vote

1903                Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Suffragettes

1914-1918      Women at work during the war movement to support our local economy

1922              Country Women’s Association (CWA) was founded

1942                The Australian Women’s Land Army was founded

1943                The first women were nominated to the House of Reps and Senate

1961                The contraceptive pill become available

1962                Indigenous women allowed to vote

1965                Government legislation allowed for women to drink in pubs.

1972                Conciliation and Arbitration Commission grants equal pay for men & women

1972                Federal Child Care act passes

1973                Paid maternity leave for Commonwealth employee

1974                Equal minimum wage granted

1975                Women can file for no-fault divorce

1977               Employment discrimination on the basis of gender is outlawed

1978                Reclaim the Night rallies to protest violence & sexual assault against women. 

1979                Women employed full time entitled to 52 weeks of unpaid maternity leave

1987                First woman (Mary Genevieve Gaudron) appointed as High Court Judge

2008                First female governor-general – Dame Quentin Bryce

2010                Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia’s first female prime minister.

2011                Australia’s first national paid parental leave scheme

2017                Launch of Women’s AFL league

2018                The Tampon tax repealed by the Australian Government

We have more work to do, there is no doubt but let’s time to look back and thank the women who paved the way for us to move forward.

And a special celebration and thank you to our women of Rivers for helping us make a difference in the lives of women in our team.

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