Thursday 15 March 2018

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO will this week place the issues facing Australian women on the international stage.

Commissioner Jenkins and Commissioner Oscar are part of the Australian delegation, invited by the Federal Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, to attend the 62nd session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

CSW is the UN’s largest meeting on gender equality and women’s rights. This year, it will focus on the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Commissioner Jenkins says it’s a credit to Australia that the Australian Human Rights Commission is represented in the delegation.

“NHRI’s don’t have independent standing at CSW, so I am delighted to be participating in the 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, as part of the Australian Government delegation.”

“This ensures an independent voice at CSW and allows us to showcase the important work of the AHRC in promoting and protecting the human rights of women and girls.”

Commissioner Jenkins will highlight her work to address sex discrimination and promote gender equality across three priority areas: prevention of violence against women and girls, women’s economic security and empowerment and diversity in leadership, across the high impact settings of workplaces, education and sport.

“When we talk about women’s inequality – we know that these inequalities are exacerbated in rural, regional and remote areas.

“One third of Australian women live in rural, regional and remote areas. However, 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, and more specifically, the barriers to achieving economic security and empowerment.”

The Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO said the forum is vitally important to unite women from around the globe and ensure that the collective voices are heard.

She will deliver a presentation about the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project, which involves national conversations with Indigenous women and girls.

“The engagements are direct conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander women and girls, designed to raise their voices to the ears and attention of the public and the Australian Government.

“I believe this project can offer inspiration and hope to Indigenous women around the world.”

Commissioner Oscar will also discuss the high rates of imprisonment of Indigenous women and the high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care.

“I am deeply concerned about the debate raging in Australia right now about child protection. As I have previously said, every child has a right to safety and in cases of immediate risk there should never be any hesitation to do what is in their best interest.

“There is no simple solution to this very complex issue. We know that past policies of removal, of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children from their families, have had devastating long term effects.

“ We must ensure the systems to protect vulnerable children are working and that families who are struggling can access the supports they need. We must invest in family supports and community led solutions.

“I strongly urge governments to work with peak organisations such as Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (ABSEC) to address the issue and take a preventative rather than interventionist approach,” said Commissioner Oscar.

Commissioner Oscar and Commissioner Jenkins said the CSW forum is a great opportunity for women across the globe to come together to share ideas and experiences and find ways to accelerate progress towards gender equality.