We need urgent and immediate action to ensure women’s safety when so many women are dying at the hands of their partners and so many women are being assaulted and harassed in the workplace. That is why I have backed calls for proper funding of specialist sexual, domestic and family violence services and better legal and institutional responses for victims.
But the issue of women’s safety is a deeply cultural and social problem that is a consequence of the way society perceives gender roles and norms.
To ensure everyone is safe and able to prosper regardless of their gender we must find structural solutions.
This is a problem that goes to the core of the functioning of our society.
We need structural solutions that will help shift the preconceptions we have about gender roles in society. If we address the gross inequalities across society we will see a safer society that benefits all.
That's why I am calling for a wide-ranging overhaul of Federal Government policies and spending to deliver gender equality and build safer environments for women at home and at work.
The urgent need to improve the status and security of women demands a coordinated strategy to tackle the issues in parenting support, early childhood education and workplace culture.
I pledge to press immediately as an Independent Senator for a package of reforms including:
- 26 weeks of shared paid parental leave;
- universal childcare and properly resourced early childhood education; - incentives to expand participation of men in occupations such as nursing, teaching and caring and to encourage women into male-dominated jobs and leadership in all workplaces;
- funding to rebuild the Office for Women and empower it to lead change; and - urgent steps to implement all 28 recommendations of the Jenkins inquiry to end the toxic and dangerous workplace culture at Parliament House.
The Government needs to prioritise a comprehensive strategy to promote and resource gender equality in homes and workplaces – and ensure children grew up in an environment that is respectful of women and their rights.
The threat to women's safety is everywhere – in our workplaces, our homes and in our Parliament.
We desperately need to work towards and fund an equal and just society – starting with the care and education of children. Sharing parental roles is essential to instil values of equality and remove prescriptive gender roles.
Women's safety is directly related to gender equity; without one we cannot have the other. Supporting women at home and at work will improve the lives of all Australians and this must be a priority of Government.
I first proposed in late 2020 the inquiry into the culture at Parliament House led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins & I have been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer, university teacher and advisor to both sides of politics to achieve gender equity.