Dear remarkable community,
What a week it has been.
An election has been held and people have voted with their minds and hearts.
We are no longer willing to have the issues of workplace safety, access to childcare and integrity ignored. We want action on climate change and we want progress, and action, towards gender equality.
We now have a new government, headed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and, for the first time in history, a record number of at least 95 women heading to Canberra.
Among them will be 11 new Independents, women in key seats who have vowed to do politics differently and to listen to voters’ key priorities that are central to the running of our nation.
Analysts predict women will make up more than 41% of the 227 seats across both houses.
Labor will also have more women in its caucus room for the first time with a gender split of around 53/47.
I am so looking forward to real action on what matters most to our community and for women’s voices to be truly heard.
This week my heart also goes out to all the parents and loved ones of the 19 children and two adults killed in a shooting at a Texas primary school in the United States.
What a terrible tragedy this is and, in part fuelled by American gun laws, one that keeps repeating itself.
At the same time, I am profoundly thankful that we live in a country where a safe and peaceful life is mostly possible.
New consent campaign gets it right
Let it be known. We give our tick off consent to this consent ad.
We are completely on board with the new consent campaign ads in NSW that actually talk to young people in a way that is, yes, respectful.
You wouldn’t think that would be too hard to get right. But cast your thoughts back to the horrible milkshake campaign by the Federal government that had us all wondering what they were thinking!
Labelled woeful and cringe-worthy by NSW and Victoria’s education ministers, the deleted campaign was also widely criticised by sexual assault prevention campaigners.
It featured a young woman smearing a milkshake into a boy’s face when he says he prefers his milkshake, not hers. Confusing and juvenile, huh?
By contrast, the NSW ads feature young couples in realistic situations, such as at a party, in a bedroom, or at home on the sofa, and realistic, respectful dialogue about whether to go further sexually or not.
Because a lot of us have been in these situations, these definitely resonate with us on a personal level.
Talking about respect, we look forward to seeing the new government fully implement all 55 of the Australian Human Rights Commission's Respect@Work recommendations.
This includes a "positive duty" on companies and organisations to take steps to prevent sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation.
Another recommendation that's so far been passed over are changes to the Human Rights Commission Act that would allow unions to bring claims to courts, allowing them to shoulder the expense and risk.
We all deserve to feel safe at home, at work and in social situations.
Taliban orders women on tv to cover their faces – and men stand in solidarity
Male television presenters in Afghanistan are wearing face masks on screen to show solidarity after the Taliban issued an order that all women on news channels must cover their faces.
In a protest dubbed #FreeHerFace on social media, men on Tolo News wore masks to
mimic the effect of the face veil their female colleagues have been forced to
wear after a Taliban crackdown.
Al Jazeera reports that the edict is the latest sign of escalating restrictions on women’s freedoms and a return to the repressive rule of the Taliban’s previous time in power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Earlier this month, the Taliban passed a decree making the wearing of face veils mandatory in public spaces. They have also banned women from travelling more than 72km (45 miles) without a mahram (male guardian) and prevented girls from attending school after the sixth grade.
Human rights activists say the Taliban’s growing restrictions aim to remove women from public life.
The actions of male presenters who are resisting the victimisation of women are truly admirable, but we wonder what the retribution by the Taliban will be.
If you would like to help but don’t know how, Women from Afghanistan is a non-profit that works to support vulnerable populations, including women and girls, and transform violence and oppression into that of peace and equality.
Women take over Cannes’ red carpet in protest
As domestic violence and crime continue to affect the lives of people, here and around the world, we can feel especially powerless.
But one of the strongest avenues open to us is making our voice heard so that, hopefully, change-makers will take action.
In Australia, vocal protests have included the March4Justice which is an organisation that continues to advocate for systemic change.
In the United States, women started the #metoo movement that spread around the world.
Now feminist protesters have taken the to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival to highlight violence against women in Ukraine and in France.
The first protest involved a woman taking off her clothes to reveal the message "stop raping us" on her body next to the colours of the Ukraine flag.
This disturbing video of women presenting evidence of Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian women has also recently emerged.
In the second, feminist protesters set off smoke flares and held their fists in the air as they carried a banner showing the names of 129 women they say have been murdered in France since the last Cannes festival.
As women, speaking up, and joining others who want to stop gendered violence, is one of the most powerful things we can do.
We can also support companies, organisations and individuals working for change so that women, just like you and I, globally may be safe, healthy and thrive.
Is your fashion ethical?
We all love a bargain but, sometimes, spending our money on clothes that seem like a good buy isn’t good for all of us or the environment.
If you are paying a cheap price for new clothes, they are probably being made by an underpaid garment worker in a third world country – most likely a woman, or even a child – and they are unlikely to be eco-friendly.
It pays to read labels and then do a bit of googling to find out where and how your clothes are made and what kind of ethics your favourite label adheres to.
Organisations like Oxfam, for example, have information online about how workers are treated.
Ethically, there’s also no match for reducing your consumption of fast fashion that costs the disadvantaged or the environment.
But you can also buy vintage and recycled, a big trend in fashion right now.
For more information about how to shop ethically, check out this website.
Until next week,