Australia, along with the rest of the world on March 8, is celebrating International Women’s Day and this year the theme is #BalanceForBetter. Centered around the idea that the world will be a better place if it is more gender-balanced, it has been indisputable that gender equality is increasingly in the media spotlight and becoming a topic of discussion in media and politicians around the globe.

With the increased visibility of domestic violence, gender pay inequality and the #metoo movement, women in Australia are becoming more aware of the need for change in the community, to give better outcomes for women.

Research conducted as part of the International Women’s Day annual study has found that the majority of men acknowledge that gender equality can only be achieved with men’s support, however around half think that they are being expected to do too much.

On a global scale, while women have a long way to achieve parity – attitudes are changing. Globally, half (50%) say that young women will have a better life than women from their parents’ generation. Two-thirds of people globally (65%) say that achieving equality between men and women is important to them personally - although this has fallen five points since last year (70%).

Similarly, women still face significant issues. Three in ten people globally (30%) pick out sexual harassment as the top issue facing women, which is in line with findings in 2018 when the figure was 32%. Equal pay is highlighted as much more of an issue in many European countries. Respondents in Serbia (41%), Australia (40%), Poland (24%) and Russia (21%) see domestic abuse as the top issue, whilst people in South Korea (31%) and Japan (26%) feel that balancing work and caring responsibilities is the top issue that women are facing.

Globally, the top actions that people feel would help to achieve equality between men and women are employers paying women the same as men for the same work (36%) and tougher laws to prevent violence and harassment against women (35%).

Former Prime Minister of Australia and Chair the Global Institute of Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, Julia Gillard, says: "The study shows that around the world, people rightly believe gender equality has not gone far enough. While the issues we prioritize may be different country by country, there is a real consensus that men must play their part if we are to achieve true parity between the sexes. It is also heartening to see that attitudes towards male and female roles are changing. Politicians and business leaders must hear and act on that message. We need to redouble efforts to accelerate progress in tackling gender gaps and increasing female representation in positions of power.”

In Australia many International Women’s Day events are planned, including:

  • Iconic Women: the Exhibition on at Melbourne Central. More info here.

  • IML International Women’s Day Great Debate. More info here.

  • Statue of Fearless Girl has been reproduced for Melbourne and will be on show from 8th of February 2019 - 8th of February 2021 in Federation Square.

  • International Women’s Day group art show. More info here

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The first​ ​IWD gathering was in 1911, which was supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women's equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

Find out more about this years' International Women’s Day on their website here.