The 2020 International Women’s Day theme is Each for Equal. An equal world is one where we’re all responsible for our thoughts and actions. Every day, we have the power to take small steps towards gender equity.
Women from migrant and refugee backgrounds are at the intersection of gender and culture, and experience many additional challenges.
For example, the unemployment rate for female migrants is higher than both migrant men and Australian-born women, while one in four women from diverse backgrounds have been forced to scale back at work due to cultural barriers.
Few of us are in a position to influence employment barriers. But we can progress gender equality by something as simple as offering formal or informal mentoring. This 1:1 support helps women access the local networks that is often so critical in gaining employment or progressing a career.
Domestic and family violence is another issue that affects women from all walks of life but can present additional challenges for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. They are often less likely to seek assistance due to barriers like lack of knowledge about their rights, fear of deportation and removal of children, or lack of English language skills.
There is a pressing need for consistent funding of domestic violence services that are tailored for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Again, very few of us are in a position to influence an issue of this scale, but we can take small steps. You can add your voice to the Each for Equal social media hashtag or write to your local member.
At the end of the day, gender equity is not just a women’s issue. It is an issue for everyone. When women do well, their families, businesses and whole communities prosper. On International Women’s Day, I hope you’ll join me in re-committing ourselves to progressing gender equality through small actions within our spheres of influence.