IN UNCERTAIN TIMES, WEL IS A DETERMINED CHAMPION FOR WOMEN
Let's pull together, rather than pull apart.
Now is a time to invest in purposeful advocacy for women.
At this moment, the reality of coronavirus forces us to pause and consider the effects this health emergency may have on our lives. At WEL, we are acutely aware of the nuanced ways women bear the cost of this uncertainty each day.
Placing a 'gendered lens' on this pandemic reveals that women are more vulnerable because they work in informal work/casual roles, and in women dominated industries, such as healthcare workers or caregivers, women are at the 'infection coalface'. These experiences which women wake to each day mean's coronavirus is very much at the front of their mind (see Why Women Face a Greater Risk of Catching Coronavirus, New York Times, March 12th). And in their own homes, women have to pull a double shift to care for a family member who becomes sick.'So what might be a gender-sensitive response to the coronavirus? Policies like paid sick leave and accessible, affordable health care would be a start — both of which are notably absent for many in the U.S. Governments should also work to provide crucial resources, including protective gear and even basic needs like pads and tampons, which according to some accounts, female nurses in China had difficulties finding.Yet these actions are being largely overlooked as governments try to ramp up preparedness, said Smith, whose research examined whether global health policies during previous outbreaks had taken gender impacts into account. “Across the board, gender issues were ignored.”'
Source: Why Women Face a Greater Risk of Catching Coronavirus, New York Times, March 12th 2020
Over the next few weeks and months, WEL will spotlight how government can lead on gender-sensitive policy, and we will push for equality in public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This crisis will pass, but while it is rolling out, we will make sure we weather this phase by championing compassionate policy that sets standards for a fairer, more equal world when this threat has passed. We will be alert to, and will oppose, any efforts to erode existing work and welfare conditions that women rely on.
A TRUSTED ADVOCATE
WEL is a trusted voice and a proven advocate for women across Australia - we lobby for policy reforms firmly grounded in the reality of women's lives. WEL's reputation for championing evidence-based policy is almost 50 years old and getting stronger. Since 1972 WEL has worked shoulder to shoulder with experts, in legal, health and rights-based organisations to fight discrimination against women. We deliver realistic and life changing recommendations via submissions, senate inquiries and when we speak directly to elected representatives and the media.
Right now we are defending women's rights on several fronts. We need resources to fight the federal Religious Discrimination Bill that, if passed, would significantly disadvantage women and see our rights wound back. Over the next few weeks we will build a coalition of women’s organisations to use our combined strength to stop this legislation in its tracks.
Last Friday, March 13, WEL spoke to the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System. Our submission clearly communicated the needs of women and children facing family violence, and the detrimental impact that would arise from any reduced operation of the family law system.
YOU CAN PLAY A KEY ROLE
To create positive, widespread change for women, we need all 'hands on deck'. We are proud of the long line of passionate women since 1972 who have been WEL members - past and present - to make sure we get this feminist work done.
Every day, we are in discussion with our growing community of supporters, sharing our campaign work and listening to the concerns of Australian women.
We hear from older women that they are worried about housing security. We know that Indigenous women are concerned about higher levels of family violence in communities. We see how inequality in tax and superannuation policy affects women disproportionately. We hear the voices of women that still face barriers to accessing reproductive healthcare, despite abortion law reform. We hear you.
In 2020, our priorities are:
- Women Ageing Well campaign to reduce women’s homelessness and increase social housing investment
- Monitoring the implementation of the historic NSW abortion law reform, to make sure any woman, regardless of her postcode or bank balance, can access safe and timely reproductive health services.
- Religious Discrimination draft legislation – playing a leading role in making abundantly clear the disastrous impact this divisive legislation will have on all women
- Keeping violence against women firmly in the parliamentary mind, by lobbying governments to deliver the necessary investment in the Family Courts, and to build more women's refuges in NSW.
- Actively pursuing the gendered undervaluation of work performed in the community services sector by speaking up loudly for the Equal Remuneration Order and Supplementation
HELP US DEFEND AND PROGRESS WOMEN'S RIGHTS
Since January, our community has raised almost $6000, but we need more funding. Our role in the recent NSW campaign to successfully decriminalise abortion means that our coffers need rebuilding. We are growing a 'persistence fund' - the sort that is needed to tackle women's housing insecurity and other 2020 priorities. We want to build on the momentum of our recent achievements, and push for gender equality for all. The WEL community can continue to defend, and progress, women's rights across the country.
Our dream is to change women’s lives for the better
WEL is a far sighted organisation. We hold all levels of government accountable. If we work side by side, we have the power to create the reforms that are deeply appreciated by women of all ages.
You can help by pledging a single tax deductible gift or by becoming a regular donor. You'll be supporting WEL’s daily advocacy for women, as we make sure women's lives count in government, the public mind and places where system wide decisions are made. Any amount is welcome. Every dollar puts us a step closer to waking in a more gender equitable word.
We thank you for standing with WEL. Together we can give women the 'tomorrow' they dream about, no matter where they live in Australia.