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Happy International Women’s Day!

Date: 8 March 2011

Today, March 8th 2011, is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

So why do we need it? Isn’t everything pretty much fixed? That’s the general impression I got from talk back callers and radio jocks as I drove in to work today. Why on earth would the Governor General, Quentin Bryce, make the audacious suggestion that quotas be introduced to ensure more women are appointed as directors on the boards of Australian companies?‘That’s a form of discrimination,’ I heard them say. Women aren’t on boards because they don’t want to be there, and they don’t have the qualifications. If they were right for the job, they’d get picked. Sound familiar? They are the same kinds of arguments used to explain why women weren’t promoted to management positions, or offered postgraduate opportunities.

As Dr Sue Bandaranaike, social demographer and adjunct lecturer at James Cook University explains, while the situation of Australian women looks good “on paper”, sexism still persists in our society. Despite 58 percent of women being employed, Dr Bandaranaike says fewer than nine percent are on board directorships in private enterprise and the situation is worse in regional Australia.

“In the city a lot of things get swept under the carpet because the women are more vocal, they are more educated and they seem to be getting through OK.

But in the regional parts of Australia we are still living quite a few years behind the city dwellers and there’s much more control by the men over these women’s roles”. (See 100 years of striving for equality for more.)

That’s why we need, and deserve, International Women’s Day. To celebrate the achievements and to remind people that there is still so much to achieve. To find out more about what is happening for the 100th Anniversary and how you can be involved, we encourage you to visit International Women’s Day.


  1. Helen Morgan says:

    If things were “fixed” then there would probably also be 50/50 representation of male/female public transport commuters on my 6.30am train to work too – but I guess women are the ones stuck at home getting children ready for childcare and school (because they want to be, naturally) instead of getting a head start on the day like the majority of men that share my commute!

    I’m with our Governor General on this one.

  2. Mich Prince says:

    There are some amazing women in science, politics and social justice participating in The Great Celebrity Book Auction – Prof Fiona Stanley, Prof Fiona Wood, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce. You can find their contributions here

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