Insights from UNAA International Women’s Day Conference

While we cannot anticipate what gender equality will look like in its fullest expression, we are creating a portrait of what it is. When we take a first look at it, it appears that it exists in isolation. When we endeavour to understand gender equality, more complex parts of the process emerge. 

What turns a person into the artist? 

For some, gender equality is a cause that they stumble upon when they pick up a paintbrush and make a few strokes on a canvas.  “I didn’t realise I could be a professional feminist until I worked in the financial sector”, Lisa Annese of the Diversity Council Australia says during the opening of her speech. 

Working on the development of Australia’s first paid maternity leave scheme for the corporate sector changed the course of her career. The now CEO traces her passion for mastering the art of female inclusion in the workforce back to this ‘pivotal moment’ in her career. 

It is different for others, who make a deliberate effort to change the story for women after experiencing exclusion. Denise Beckwith, a woman with a disability affirms that ‘women are expected to be resilient and they are.’ She casts a light on how the limited capacity of disabled women places them in a vulnerable position, with 83% of them experiencing violence. 

The stigma, shame and fear of pursuing legal action is underscored by the ‘lack of physical accessibility to courts.’ This inspires her to channel her unique experiences into transforming attitudes towards disabled women affected by violence. 

The Incomplete and Evolving Picture

There is an ongoing effort to make gender equality everyone’s issue. The people and voices that have emerged throughout time have crafted an image of gender equality that inhabits an impermeable and harmonious place in the world we live in today. 

Casting a light on the many aspects of gender equality can begin with using your position to give people a greater understanding of what it means to be equal. It opens up a more inclusive discussion of the experiences of all members of the community. We are offered multiple lenses into gender equality and the desire for equal recognition at all levels.

Written by Annie Renouf, Content Writer at Communiteer

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