Date: 
Friday 6 April 2018

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO have joined thousands of women in Brisbane at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival.

The three day event has brought together women from more than 20 Commonwealth Nations to discuss gender equality, leadership, social justice, diversity and more.

Commissioner Kate Jenkins joined a panel of speakers to highlight the issues facing one third of Australian women, who live in rural, regional and remote areas.

“When we talk about women’s inequality – gendered violence, women’s economic insecurity, and a lack of representation in leadership, we know that these inequalities are exacerbated in rural, regional and remote areas.

“We know that women in regional areas have less support and fewer options to escape discrimination and violence,” she said.

Commissioner Jenkins said the Australian Human Rights Commission is currently considering options to examine the barriers to economic security for women and girls in rural, regional and remote areas.

“I believe that we do not currently have a comprehensive national picture of the experiences and human rights issues facing women in rural, regional and remote areas.

The Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar spoke about Indigenous women and girls across the country who are achieving extraordinary acts while living in great adversity.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are the fastest growing prison population in Australia, currently comprising 34% of women behind bars. Indigenous children are almost 10 times as likely to be living in out-of-home care as other Australian children.

“Of course, we must guarantee the safety and health of our children, but this is not possible, in both the short and long-term, without responding to the needs of women and families. We must work to provide the necessary supports to children, women, families and communities to overcome systemic issues and close the gap on all forms of inequality,” she said.

Commissioner Oscar will meet with Indigenous women and girls in Brisbane, as part of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project tomorrow.

Commissioner Jenkins and Commissioner Oscar said the Women of the World Festival presents a great opportunity for women to come together to share information and ideas and find ways to accelerate progress towards gender equality.