2021 introduced us to some incredible voices in the women’s rights space, chief among them; Grace Tame, Brittany Higgins and Chanel Contos. Each of them have fought independently and together, to make Australia safer for all women, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down soon.
Joining forces, these inspiring women have formed Safety. Respect. Equity. — which calls for policy reforms to better protect women and children across the country to decrease violence, discrimination and harassment.
The alliance is made up of 12 women, each of whom have rallied to spark real change in their respective field. The group includes:
- Grace Tame — 2021 Australian Of The Year and advocate against child sexual abuse
- Brittany Higgins — Launched an investigation into parliament’s workplace culture after coming forward with rape allegations and sparked #March4Justice 2020
- Chanel Contos — Founder of Teach Us Consent and has since achieved mandatory consent education in all Australian schools in 2023
- Yasmin Poole — public speaker, board director and youth advocate pushing for young people to have more of a say in Australian politics
- Georgie Dent — Executive Director of The Parenthood, author and advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality
- Christine Holgate — Former Australia Post Chief Executive who came forward with her experience of workplace bullying
- Madison de Rozario — Paralympic gold medallist and disability advocate
- Julia Banks — Former Liberal MP who has spoken out about the toxic culture of Australian politics, and being sexually harassed
- Lucy Hughes Turnbull — Australian businesswoman and philanthropist
- Michele O’Neil — President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
- Wendy McCarthy — Businesswoman and social activist
- Larissa Behrendt — Indigenous rights advocate, academic and filmmaker.
The statistics are shocking. As we know, one in five women in Australia will be sexually assaulted or raped in her lifetime. Two in five women have been sexually harassed in the workplace in the last five years, and for women of colour, First Nations women, women with a disability and queer women, those statistics are far worse.
Australia’s national gender pay gap still stands at 14.2%.
Over the year’s, we have seen numerous inquiries, investigations and bodies which have attempted to provide a solution, but no meaningful change has been made.
As Safety. Respect. Equity. said, we need to change these statistics.
The group has been meeting regularly over the past few months to devise a way of making a real difference for women at home, in the workplace and everywhere else. The video released is a callout to all Australians to address the inequality that still exists and champion reform.
What is the alliance calling for?
Preventing sexual harassment and bullying. (Implement all 55 recommendations in the Respect@Work report including a positive duty on employers.
10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
Acting on the National Plan for First Nations Women and Girls. (Support & fund the 7 recommendations in the 2020 Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report)
Ensuring effective employment programs for women with disability.
Stronger, consistent child sexual assault laws.
Eliminating the gender pay gap including necessary legal reform.
Free, accessible and quality early childhood education and care.
Expanding paid parental leave.
Embedding respectful relationships and consent education everywhere including schools, universities, workplaces and homes.
You can read the full open letter from Safety. Respect. Equity. here.