Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall MP calls for everyone to challenge themselves on International Women's Day 2021

25 February, 2021


The year 2021 is already shaping up to be a year of female empowerment, and we need to go further. In two months, we've seen strong calls for paid parental leave and for a pink budget in May from the government; we've seen the work practices of our highest office in the land being laid bare to expose the appalling treatment of staffers, particularly women, in Parliament House; and we've seen brave women, such as Brittany Higgins, daring to speak up and breaking the code of silence in a patriarchal system that is deliberately geared, in this place, towards men. We also have Australia preparing to host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023. So we've made some gains, but there's a long way to go. Of the seven decision-makers for this year's budget, only one is a woman. There are 23 members of federal cabinet, and only seven are women. And only one in five community soccer clubs has women's change rooms.

On International Women's Day on 8 March, the theme is 'Choose to Challenge'. I challenge you all to challenge assumptions, challenge the establishment and challenge yourself, because from challenge can only come change. I'm well placed to know that. One of the best things that I experience as the member of parliament for Warringah is when I visit our local schools and I see how inspired the young girls and boys are and how excited they are at the idea that they can be trailblazers and that they can set big goals, have big dreams and go after them.