The RPPV news team attended the launch of Mornington Peninsula Shire’s first Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2030 at the Mornington Racecourse last Monday.
Together, the Mayor and Cr Celi launched the Shire’s own Gender Equality Strategy after the Victorian Government enacted the Gender Equality Act 2020 last month. The launch also coincided with International Women’s Day this Sunday, 8 March 2020, themed EACH TO EQUAL.
Guest speakers Natasha Stott Despoja AO, founding Chair of Our WATCh Foundation and local resident Rosie Batty AO, advocate against domestic violence, shared their experiences and knowledge of gender inequality to a crowd of over 500 people.
After many workshops, community engagements and surveys conducted through the Shire’s Health and Wellbeing Committee, the Mayor said “It’s evident that women are still experiencing all types of violence – physical, emotional, verbal and sexual violence”. He added that the Shire is willing to face up to the hard facts and talk about what needs to be done in addressing the drivers of violence against women in our communities.
“It’s time to celebrate and empower women.”
Cr Celi advised the four key drivers to identifying the issues used to prevent violence against women are:
- Challenge condoning of violence against women
- Promote women’s independence and decision making
- Challenge gender stereotypes and roles
- Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relationships. Using these four actions as a guide, the focus will be on:
- Education – for example STEM which is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
- Work place opportunities
- Health and Wellbeing
- Leadership and representation
- Sports and recreation
- Media and the arts
“It’s all about empowering women to be their best because they do contribute to our social, economic, cultural and political arena,” she said.
Natasha Stott Despoja AO, who chairs Our WATCh, an independent, not for profit organisation established to prevent violence against Women And Their Children, reminded us of the frightening statistics:
- Every week one woman dies in domestic violence, usually at the hands of a man she knows
- Police are called to domestic violence disturbances every 2 minutes, day and night – that’s 657 calls a day
- These abuses or murders usually take place in the home and have a long history
- So far, 9 women have lost their lives to men this year
- Of women who are abused or murdered, half of them have children in their care
Lastly, Rosie Batty AO advised there is a lot of hard work being done by organisations and government to stop the inequality and violence against women adding, “I don’t think we will be able to keep people safe unless more work is being done against the perpetrator but it’s wonderful that society is now calling out bad behaviour.”
To read the strategy visit: mornpen.vic.gov.au/genderequality
For the full story watch RPPV News on the RPPV website.
Deb Mar – RPP Media