In the eyes of the law, men and women are not equal. We need to level the playing field so we can empower women to realise their rights and achieve gender equality.
Almost 90% of countries have at least one legal difference that distinguishes between men and women. These unjust laws restrict women’s opportunities and act as barriers to women being empowered members of society. Legal discrimination is currently preventing girls and women around the world from getting an education, living free from violence, earning a fair wage, choosing who they marry, owning property, and making decisions for themselves.
Australia’s closest neighbours in the Pacific face some of the highest rates of violence against women in the world - more than 60 per cent of women and girls have experienced violence at the hand of a partner, spouse, or family member. In many of these countries laws and law enforcement fail to protect them, with some forms of violence such as marital rape not being a criminal offence.
As global citizens we are committed to championing the reform or repeal of laws that discriminate against girls and women, and the enactment of measures to outlaw discrimination and gender-based violence to achieve gender equality by 2030.
Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, has been a strong advocate in standing up for women and girls, stating “there is an inescapable truth – we cannot transform our world unless the place of women within it is transformed”.
That’s why we are urging the Australian Government to be a leader in empowering women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region and internationally by encouraging other Commonwealth Nations to help #LeveltheLaw.