International Women's Day 2022

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to acknowledge and celebrate women around the world and continue pushing for equality within our society. We would like to acknowledge all of the incredible strong Indigenous women that care for their families, lead their communities and form such an important part of our nation!

Mother and daughter Amazing mama and her daughter @myahxfam in their matching silk scarves, designed by the artists at Warlukurlangu Art Centre. Courtesy of @myahxfam, 2022.

This year, two incredibly important themes are being pushed forth. The official 2022 theme for the United Nations is Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. This theme recognizes “the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.” According to UN Women (2022), women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change than men, as they constitute “the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.” We must continue to examine opportunities to empower women and girls to be a part of the decision-making related to climate change and sustainable development. So, in order to obtain a sustainable tomorrow, there needs to be gender equality today (UN Women, 2022).

International Women’s Day Global’s theme “Break The Bias'' tackles another gender equality issue that continues to exist within our society and workplaces. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Through speaking out about bias within schools, universities, workplaces and communities, we hope to move forward to create a world free of stereotypes and discrimination against women (IWD, 2022). 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, bias and discrimination is unfortunately quite prevalent. Indigenous women and girls face bias and discrimination in schools and workplaces. This bias also translates to the high rates of incarceration and the removal of children in particular regions (ABC News, 2017). We still have a long way to go before First Nations women are treated equally with respect. 

With both themes in mind, the main step towards resolving these important issues is for First Nations women's voices to be heard. 

In 2017, the Australian Human Rights Commission launched a multi-year project Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) that has captured over 2000 Indigneous women’s and girl’s voices. The 2020 report describes how First Nations women carry knowledge - a critical part of Aboriginal society - and care for their children, family and Country (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2022). In the Wiyi Yani U Thangani media release (2021), Commissioner Oscar explains how this report is designed to bring about action and accountability:

“We need our women to be at the decision-making table, and designing the policies that impact our lives. The Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) report sets out this call to action in a First Nations female-led plan for structural change. It is not a report for the shelf.”

So how can you get involved this International Women’s Day? Here’s a few ways that you can acknowledge and celebrate women this week:

UN Women International Women's Day UN Women’s International Women’s Day 2022 artwork. Courtesy of UN Women, 2022.

Post on and engage with social media - Posting on your social media is a great way to raise awareness about this year’s important themes. You can post about women leading and driving change in climate solutions, or cross your arms in solidarity with women all around the world to Break The Bias. Add the hashtags #IWD2022 and #BreakTheBias to spread your message (IWD, 2022).

Break the Bias 2022 IWD campaign: Break The Bias. Courtesy of IWD, 2022.

Discuss and challenge bias within your workplace - So often bias can exist within workplaces. Taking a look at your own workplace by opening up conversations with colleagues can be an excellent way of beginning to forge more inclusive workplaces. The International Women’s Day website provides some excellent resources for workplaces, which you can find here

Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women - There are a multitude of ways to support First Nations women, not just on International Women’s Day, but also throughout the year. Some ways include learning from Indigenous women writers, podcasts, leaders, and supporting women's businesses. Check out our previous posts Strong Women on Country, Indigenous Women in Art, Jessica Mauboy: Empowering Women and Communities and many other posts on our blog about strong Indigenous women.  

Today, let's all take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate all of the wonderful strong women in our communities and lives who are pushing for important social and environmental change!