Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick is one of an Australian delegation of women in attendance at the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the annual summit which is being held in New York City this month.
One of the critical areas of international discussion at the summit is the gender perspectives of the financial crisis.
Commissioner Broderick said that there is growing concern around the world that women will fare badly in the current economic crisis, that initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality will begin to be abandoned and that already vulnerable people will experience increased hardship.
“Women have played a critical role in the world’s economic growth in recent decades, and as such, are a crucial factor in rebuilding a strong and sustainable global economy,” Ms Broderick said. “Australia’s important role in reforming the global economy means we must ensure that domestic initiatives intended to encourage women’s workforce participation are not adversely affected by the economic downturn.”
The Commission on the Status of Women is convened by the United Nations to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies that will promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide. Many thousands of women and men from around the world attend each year.
Commissioner Broderick is joined by two Aboriginal women from the Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre – CEO, June Oscar, and Chair, Emily Carter – as well as federal Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek.
Yesterday, Ms Oscar and Ms Carter addressed the summit about their inspiring efforts to eradicate the scourge of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and foetal alcohol syndrome from their remote Kimberley community.
Commissioner Broderick and the Australian Government also hosted a side event that premiered the documentary, Yajilarra, about the leadership and commitment of these women to their community, which has resulted in renewed hope and a positive future for its people.
“Both in Australia and internationally, it is important that there is recognition of the positive efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men in creating change in their communities,” Commissioner Broderick said. “At this event, the women of Fitzroy Crossing have told their powerful story of leadership and change to an international audience.”