Her Excellency The Honorable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria speaks about challenges we face regarding gender parity

Despite a prediction that it will take more than 170 years to achieve global gender parity, the Governor of Victoria remains optimistic about the future of women.

Her Excellency The Honorable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria shared the World Economic Forum statistic at an International Women's Day Civic Reception in Warrnambool on Thursday.

The Governor said while half of Australians believed that there would be gender parity for women in their lifetime, based on the figure, we would not live to see it.

Her Excellency The Honorable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria speaks at an International Women's Day event in Warrnambool.

She said on average Australian women were paid 15 per cent less than men which equated to about $250 per week. “We do know that Australia’s ranked about 35th in the world when it comes to gender parity so we know we can do better,” she said. 

In Australia, more than one woman every fortnight is killed in an incident of family violence and many more are injured which contributed to “truly concerning figures”. “Often women are hurt by the people who are meant to love them and protect them in the safe harbour of their homes, or what should be the safe harbour of their homes.”

She commended domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty for her role in raising awareness. “Across the community I now see a universal understanding that family violence is a serious issue and one we need to grapple with.”

Despite decades of female firsts including the Governor General, prime minister and others, women weren’t “coming through in the numbers that we would have hoped by now, to ensure the state, the nation and the world, has the benefit of 100 per cent of our talent pool.” 

She said she took great comfort from and applauded the “male champions of change” who made it clear parity was everyone’s issue and said there was an increased number of women in leadership positions. 

She said International Women’s Day was a chance to pause, reflect, celebrate and to agree “we want to continue working hard towards gender parity”.