ANU College of Asia and the Pacific recognises International Women’s Day 2020. The College pays tribute to the contribution of all the women who contribute to and enrich our work environment and our communities.
The year 2020 is a pivotal year for advancing gender equality worldwide, as the global community takes stock of progress made for women’s rights since the adoption of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. It will also mark several other galvanizing moments in the gender equality movement: a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the 10th anniversary of UN Women’s establishment.
As UN Women observes, the emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality.
Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience unacceptable forms of violence at home and in public spaces, with 1 in 3 women experiencing physical violence since the age of 15 and on average, one woman a week murdered by her current or former partner. Furthermore, there is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains.
The year 2020 represents an unmissable opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender parity and human rights of all women and girls, and it is fitting this year’s observance day theme focuses on equality.
In this task we draw optimism from the outstanding achievements of women in academia, particularly here at ANU. To see women of talent in leadership roles across academic disciplines at our university is a tribute to all those who came before, and the work of women every day to strive for excellence, to lend their expertise and their wisdom to solving the pressing problems of our times, including that of gender equality. With the Hon Julie Bishop as our current Chancellor – the first woman to hold this role at the University, following her contribution to our nation as the first woman to be Australia’s Foreign Minister – we are setting the standard for equality from the top.
The College of Asia and the Pacific is proud to be able to contribute to this mission. Current Dean, Professor Sharon Bell, is one of 23 women in leadership positions within the College. These include three of our four School Directors Professor Helen Sullivan, Director of the Crawford School of Public Policy, Professor Toni Erskine, Director Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, and Professor Kate Henne, Director School of Regulation and Global Governance. The majority of our regional Institutes are also led by women.
While there is some way to go to gain gender equality at the level of our level D and E College academics (currently approximately 40 per cent female), there are very even numbers of men and women working in academic and professional roles in total across the College.
In addition, as a founding member of the University’s Gender Institute, CAP academics make significant contributions to the body of knowledge that informs effective policy around gender and women’s rights. This is our privilege and our responsibility.
We are proud to be contributors to ‘Generation Equality’.