By Councillor Daria Kellander
International Women’s Day on March 8 is a day to celebrate the cultural, social, political and economic achievements of women.
As a proud woman, and mother to a four-year-old girl, it’s a day to recognise how far we’ve come, but also how far we have left to go.
In Australia, we have rights that our grandmothers, and great-grandmothers could only have dreamt about. This includes the right to vote, and to serve in public office.
We have access to maternity care, which provides the ability for pregnant women to birth safely, and access to funded maternity leave and childcare services to support us through our motherhood journeys.
We have equal access to education, and the ability to pursue a career in anything we like. We also have the freedom to marry whoever we choose, and the freedom to wear anything we want.
While we have made many inroads towards equality, there’s still much more work to do locally, and we all have a role to play. When I think of Hobsons Bay City Council, I know that many of the services we provide help contribute to this goal.
We do it when we help migrant women and girls access education or develop new skills, when we help women starting or running a business, when we help new mothers as they settle into a new life with their baby.
We do it when we provide assistance to women who have been the victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. When we provide pathways for women to be leaders in our community helping them help the next generation coming through.
We do it when we invest in kindergartens, childcare facilities, and female sports and infrastructure such as women’s change rooms to increase female participation rates.
So much of what we do as a Council and as a community goes to the core of what International Women’s Day is all about.
I got into local government because I wanted to see more women – ordinary mums like me – become part of local decision making.
I was pleased to see the enormous increase in women being elected to local councils in 2020.
It’s great to see all levels of government recognise the enormous contribution women make to this country. Women’s voices and actions are making an impact.