Guest Article - International Women's Day, The Hon. Simone McGurk MLA

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Last month we celebrated International Women’s Day. For me it was 16 events over nine days – and at every event I was inspired by the many women and men I met who are so committed to addressing gender inequality.

But I also know we have a long way to go.

It is a sobering thought that some of the conversations I was having at University over 30 years ago are the same conversations we are having today. And if current progress is anything to go by, these are the same conversations we will be having in another thirty years – if not longer.

One of the areas we are getting it right is in education. In Australia, women and girls have been excelling for some time. They are completing high school at a higher rate than males and have made up over 55% of University enrolments for more than 30 years.

In a recent report by the World Economic Forum, Australia achieved a number one ranking in educational attainment for females. Given we have held this ranking since 2006, it stands to reason we should expect this translates into equally impressive workplace outcomes.

Sadly, the opposite is true. Australia’s overall ranking has dropped from 15 in 2006 to 39 in 2018. Yes, you read that right. Despite world-class educational standing in a country defined by prosperity and stability, women are slipping backwards.

In Western Australia, women earn 23 per cent less than men compared to 9 per cent less in Victoria. It can be done and we must strive to achieve pay equality.

Western Australia is home to a talented and diverse population. The business case for increasing the number of women in leadership is well established. This means that if we want to compete in a global economy and build communities that thrive, gender equality is a key strategic advantage.

This is why we are developing a Women’s Plan that sets out our priorities and actions to support women in WA.

Since becoming Minister for Women’s Interests, I’ve spoken to many women across the State. Women’s voices have given vital insight into what is needed to achieve gender equality in WA. Women’s voices are passionate, considered and perceptive. But women of different age groups, professions, geographic location and cultures will have different issues that are important to them. 

I will be spending the coming months encouraging women and girls across WA to have their say. I want to ensure the priorities and actions we take for gender equality meet the needs of the community.

And while I’m calling on women to share their ideas, I also look forward to hearing from men who are supporting and encouraging the girls and women in their lives to reach their potential.

You can have your say by visiting www.communities.wa.gov.au/wome...

Because we all want a future where our children can look forward to fulfilling their goals and dreams, regardless of their gender.

The Hon. Simone McGurk MLA
Minister for Women’s Interests


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