Australia now accedes to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (adopted by other nations in 2000).
The IAW website www.womenalliance.org presents a joint statement in 2021 by IAW, Soroptomists International and Associated Country Women of the World which concludes with: It is imperative that we enable and empower today our future women leaders. We are recommending to the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women that “New laws, regulations and social justice programs should be developed and implemented to respond to women’s and girls’ under-participation and under-representation in leadership. Such laws, regulations and social justice programs should include: guaranteeing equal pay; addressing harassment, violence and abuse of women faced online and offline; examining legal ideas of what constitutes a threat or threatening behaviour; and requiring additional protection measures to be developed, recognising that online presence is now part of participation in public life and discourse, and therefore online space should be protected and safe from abuse and harmful, sexist and discriminatory language.”
Australia takes up a seat on the UN Women executive board from 2013. The former Foreign Minister Bob Carr said it would provide a unique opportunity to increase the profile of issues facing women in the Pacific, in particular the prevalence of violence against women. “When I met with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, I reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the cause of gender equality,” he said.
In 2012, Australia presented its country statement at the 56th session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in New York, where representatives of 190 countries met, stating that the Australian Government has sent a delegation to the Commission, where it is also hosting events focusing on the needs of rural women and women with disabilities. The Federal Government outlined its pursuit of main global policy-making greater gender equality when the former Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek, delivered Australia’s country statement. She outlined Australia’s pursuit of three priority areas for advancing gender equality: improving women’s economic prosperity and financial independence, ensuring women’s voices are heard at all levels of decision making and reducing violence against women.
Chinese Delegation, 2011. Representatives of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China requested to meet with WEL Victoria members to learn about our organisation and how we lobby governments, under the China-Australia Human Rights Technical Cooperation Program. We met with this group, which included several women, and outlined WEL’s achievements with the help of an interpreter. A very interesting meeting.
International Alliance of Women (IAW). Lobbying by women’s groups around the world about the gender mainstreaming has resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing Red Notices for the arrest of five individuals for multiple counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, abduction, sexual crimes, rape and child conscription in Uganda, Sudan and the Congo. For the first time, the Rome Treaty establishing the ICC recognised sexual and gender violence as crimes against humanity which are defined by the Treaty to include rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation, and other sexual violence. Visit womenalliance.org.
What is IAW and how is WEL involved? CLICK for more information. A Conference of the IAW was held in Melbourne in 2012 – see our News page.