In her first fortnightly column for Mamamia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop reflects on the importance of International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day, more than one hundred years old, arose from the struggle for women’s rights to work, to vote and to hold public office – rights from which I – and the women attending this morning’s UN Women’s breakfast in Canberra – have greatly benefited. It remains as relevant today as when first instituted.
Julie Bishop on the Bali 9: “Myuran and Andrew deserve to live”.
In my role as Foreign Minister I have visited countries across the globe and have witnessed first-hand what it is like for women living and working in developing nations.
While much progress towards gender equality has been made, there remain harrowing situations where human trafficking, sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape are not uncommon. The lack of female leadership in social, political and economic sectors and the fight for gender equality is a contributing factor in many societies where women are not treated as equals.
Sexual violence is a deeply pervasive, often invisible and utterly devastating act that terrorises women, men, boys and girls, and destroys families and communities. It is a grave human rights violation.
The rise of extremist groups such as Da’esh presents a frightening challenge for women. Some of the most vicious and inhuman acts committed by this barbaric terrorist organisation have been directed at women and girls.
There are reports of women and girls being abducted, tortured, raped, imprisoned and enslaved for sex and given to Da’esh militants as brides.
We have a responsibility to not only publicly condemn these heinous crimes but to act to protect women in these war-torn parts of the world. That is why the Australian Government supports the Iraqi Government’s efforts to defeat this terrorist organisation – with military support and by countering its ideology that seeks to turn back centuries of progress in human history.