Gender equality is not negotiable
“I’ve always fought hard for gender equality,” Geelong MP Christine Couzens says.
“It’s important across business and government – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the smart thing to do.
“Having more diverse voices around the decision-making table has been proven to lead to better outcomes. That value is embedded at the heart of the Andrews Labor Government.”
Ms Couzens said the Andrews Labor Government was proudly the first in Victorian history to appoint a Cabinet made up of at least 50 percent women.
“We also have a proud commitment to at least 50 per cent of Labor’s elected Members of Parliament being women,” she said.
“It has ensured the issues that matter to women are represented at the highest levels of power in our state, and addressed the issue of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, sending a message to women and girls that they can end up in the halls of Parliament and around the Cabinet table.”
MP Couzens said Victoria again made history last year in Australia with the first Gender Equality Act coming into law. The new act requires 300 public sector employers, which include local councils, universities and state government bodies, to report on and continually improve gender equality in their workplace.
“It will ensure these organisations, employing more than 380,000 people, will close the gender pay gap, improve gender equality and eliminate workplace sexual harassment,’ she said.
“It is easy for politicians to say they support gender equality, but making real change requires taking big steps like this.”
Last year, Ms Couzens attended the March4Justice in Geelong, where thousands of people gathered to give a voice to women who have been made to feel silenced or powerless.
“We have announced that Victoria will adopt an affirmative consent model,” she said.
“For too long, the burden of proof has fallen on the victims and survivors of sexual violence. It’s not right, it has failed time and time again, so we’re fixing it – shifting scrutiny from the actions of the victim-survivor to those of the accused.
“Women don’t need to read statistics or data to know that we don’t yet live in an equal world.
“All too often, we can feel that for ourselves. We need a government that will always be on the side of women and fighting for a Victoria where equality is not negotiable.
“With the Andrews Labor Government, that’s exactly what we have.”