Many people have asked me why I work at WEL. The short answer is because we still live in a world where women are not equal. The longer answer covers inequality, historical and cultural references, discussion of policy and power structures, and methods of influencing structural and societal change.
We've seen many advances in women's rights. We can thank suffragettes, trailblazers, advocates and office bearers for their hard-fought wins. But, we still live in a society where the share of power, and ability to contribute, is unequal. Most of our institutions and societal structures were/are designed by, implemented by and perpetuated, by men. Most often our historical and cultural stories are void of the experiences of women. We still don't have gender parity in the private or public sector, and women are often over represented in lower-paid industries and the casual workforce. I could go on.
To sum up the many and varied points that I don't have room for here - the framework of our society is not yet structured to accomodate women in the true spirit of equality. WEL is working to change this.
In the lead up to the Federal Election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quoted as saying, ‘I will respect women'. If he truly plans to lead a government that respects women, we have much to be hopeful for in regard to Australia's future.
Respecting women would be to understand the continuing inequalities and specific dangers that women face in everyday life.
Respecting women would be an undeniable condemnation of men’s violence against women and a commitment to fund measures to protect women, provide crisis and homelessness services, and make ending violence against women a top law and order priority for Australia.
Respecting women would be to implement policy that adequately supports women through pregnancy, caring for children and elderly family, returning to work, retirement and old age.
Respecting women would be to recognise our autonomy and our right to make decisions about our reproductive health.
And so much more...
I believe that we deserve this future.
Women’s rights have been, and continue to be, an ebb and flow of progress and repression. With whispers that conservative religious campaigners will be including opposition to safe access zones in their upcoming platform, we cannot take advances in our rights for granted. We need to hold the line, and continue to push for equality - in all aspects of our lives.
But WEL cannot do this alone. WEL is a volunteer-based organisation with one part-time staff member. We need funding and campaign resources to support our work, to reach our audiences and decision-makers, and to drive our progress. We need financial support to continue holding governments to account when it comes to policy reform and program funding impacting women.
This end of financial year, I'm calling on all of WEL's supporters to contribute to WEL's campaign fund.
Thank you to those who have already donated. We'll be making sure that we can put every dollar to good use. Every donation to WEL, of any size, is a step towards gender equality.
When women stand together, we can create a better world; for ourselves, the people we care about and future generations.
Amanda Keeling, Women's Electoral Lobby