"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement;
    nothing can be done without hope." 

    Helen Keller

    Many times this week I've found the stories, the statistics, the inadequacies of our legal system, and our failings as a society to protect those who are most vulnerable and living with terrorism in their own homes, too much. So I could probably have done with a light-hearted romantic comedy last tonight, but instead I attended UN Women's pre-screening of The Suffragettes! 
    The Suffragettes is beyond powerful. It weaves every message of gender inequality into the fabric of the women's stories. It was both brilliant and devastating, but the strongest message of all was that it takes hope, sacrifice and perseverance to drive social change. 
    Rosie Batty is undeniably The Suffragette of our time, and it was a great privilege to listen to her address a packed house at Broadmeadows Town Hall on Wednesday afternoon, to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. With the support of Liz Broderick, and a host of other women, she has worked tirelessly to shift the black clouds that hover over the heads of thousands of women with no option but to live with a terrorist; a man who is supposed to love them. I was moved to tears when she shared that the Governor General and his wife flew to be with Rosie to support her on Wednesday. 
    There is much we still need to do, but this week, as cities all over the world lit up significant buildings with orange lights representing a call to arms to end violence against women, men and women from all walks of life responded. 
    The message was overwhelmingly one of hope, imagination and activism. 
    I imagine a world where women are no longer oppressed, where women and children are safe, free and independent. 
    I live in hope that this will be true for my daughter and sons. 
    And so as the UN launched its 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign, I want to share with you 16 of the many experiences of hope I've seen recently, that suggest we might just achieve it for the next generation. 
    How are you going to make a difference?
    Have a great weekend, 
    Prue


1. HOPE...A VICTIM OF FAMILY VIOLENCE WAS NAMED AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR, CHANGING THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION

Rosie Batty. Never Alone. Need we say more. 

2. HOPE...GENDER EQUALITY GETS ITS OWN STRATEGY

This morning I attended the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy Consultation Paper. The message from Minister Fiona Richardson was clear: "Let's keep the momentum going. Seize the momentum and...deliver on the next chapter of gender equality in this state." 
3. WE SMASHED ANOTHER GLASS CEILING THAT INSPIRED WOMEN WORLD WIDE TO TACKLE DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT

Congratulations to Michelle Payne, who smashed another glass ceiling and used her moment in front of the world to call out #everydaysexism and #discrimination, this time, in the racing industry, by becoming the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup! 

(click on the link to relive her powerful words!)

4. HOPE... THAT SUCCESSFUL MEN WILL STEP UP AND SHARE THE CARE

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to take two months of paternity leave following the birth of his daughter. Facebook offers its US employees four months of paid maternity and paternity leave. In a post on Facebook on November 20, he said:

"This is a very personal decision, and I've decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives...   
Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families."
5. HOPE... THAT MEN WILL BE SUPPORTED TO BE PRESENT FATHERS AND CARERS

On Tuesday, I was inspired by the messages of justice and equality that PWC's CEO, Luke Sayers shared with me. Specifically, he articulated WHY taking parental leave is good for business:
  "When you have a baby, its arguably the biggest thing thats going to happen in your life...You've suddenly got a beautiful new person that two people are responsible for. And its as hard as anything...
So the way we're trying to look at it at PWC is encouraging the fathers to be absolutely involved in that. Involved to help with the newborn, to help with the post birth challenges and complications that often times come with your wife or your partner giving birth to be there as a rock through that early period. 
And why is that right? Its right for stability, its right for the men who arguably will learn and grow more through that experience straight after birth than they would at work for a period of time, as far as a person that understands and is empathetic and is caring, and you develop skills and perspective and context through that period arguably more than you would if you just stayed doing the same old thing at work. 
Then when those men come back they're more educated, they're more informed, they're more aware. Hopefully the family situation is more stable and true and genuine and they can slot back into work and go from strength to strength."

6. HOPE... THAT WE MIGHT ARREST THE THREATS ARISING FROM REPEAT OFFENDERS OF AVO's.

On Wednesday night, Q and A ran a special episode into domestic violence. We learned that of the more than 100,000 apprehended violence orders (AVOs) were issued last year alone, nearly half of them are breached. It was refreshing to hear the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter respond that the only way to address this issue is for there to be
"mandatory penalties of imprisonment at State level for people who have 
multiple breaches of restraining orders."

7. HOPE...THE CORPORATE WORLD STEPPED UP TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
"Let us ensure that our response as business leaders is proportionate to the courage that these women have shown in 
sharing their stories 
with us."
-Gordon Cairns, Non-Executive Director 
(after the Male Champions of Change November 2014 meeting with Rosie Batty and Kristy McKellar) 

This month, the Male Champions of Change, led by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, wrote to Australian businesses, sharing examples and their experience about how to address domestic and family violence. The comprehensive document also includes a 3 level strategy that shows just how workplaces can make a difference.

For, as they said, it is impossible to champion gender balanced leadership without understanding and addressing domestic and family violence. 
8. ANOTHER AFL BOARD STEPPED UP WITH A BRILLIANT FEMALE APPOINTMENT

The Carlton Football Club appointed a second female to their board of directors, Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins. 

It's a win for Carlton, for the AFL and for gender equality. Read the full post here

9. HOPE...MISOGYNY LOSES OUT IN MEDIA

It takes courage and conviction to advocate real change. 

But with a strong and respected voice, and a platform to raise up her voice, Jessica Halloran wrote a  powerful article  calling on the AFL to ban football players from appearing on the Footy Show. Jess called out sexism that is responsible for the oppression of women. And it worked. read the full piece here
10. HOPE...MISOGYNY LOSES OUT IN MEDIA AGAIN 

We saw Mark Latham resign from the AFR. A good result for all, but a shame the AFR didn't draw a line in the sand and terminate the contract - such behavior must breach many policies as well as his employment contract. Surely. (Doesn't warrant an image). 

Btw, we are still wondering why he has been engaged for The Verdict...

11. HOPE...WOMEN'S SPORT RATES

The AFL and Seven will discuss showing more live women's AFL games in 2016 after a ratings success...

12. HOPE...WOMEN'S FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE WILL IMPROVE

ANZ workers will get salary increases of up to 5 per cent this year after the bank and its employees struck a new employment agreement that also introduced flexible part-time arrangements in branches and superannuation pay for mothers.
More than 89 per cent of eligible employees voted for the new two-year agreement which will see the lender pay salary increases of between 3.5 and 5 per cent in 2015, covering around 21,000 Australian employees.
ANZ will also pay superannuation contributions for the full period of parental leave of up to 24 months, and offer the ability to use paid sick leave to go to preventative medical appointments or pre-natal appointments related to a partner's pregnancy.
The bank also said the agreement formalised the introduction of flexi part-time working arrangements in branches to "allow greater rostering flexibility" and an extension of weekday and Saturday working hours to better meet customer needs.

13. HOPE...AUSTRALIA HAS ALREADY HAD A FEMALE PRIME MINISTER!

14. HOPE...THERE MAY BE A FEMALE PRESIDENT IN THE USA...

15. HOPE...THE FORMER SEX DISCRIMINATION COMMISSIONER IS A FINALIST FOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 2016

16...HOPE...GRACE PAPERS WON THE 2014 AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS BUSINESS AWARD FOR OUR WORK ADDRESSING PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION
At Grace Papers, we  focus on addressing inequality by driving interventions using validated research that not only addresses gendered expectations but can prevent domestic violence. 

We empower individuals to realise their full professional potential, and be the parent they wish to be.  

Our unique approach to addressing pregnancy discrimination which affects 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men also saw us awarded the Australian Human Rights Award in December. 

We enable workplaces to drive social change. We celebrate the contribution made by our clients to providing HOPE to thousands of families that gender equality is achievable.
 

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Grace Papers was recognised for its work empowering women to anticipate and address pregnancy discrimination, winning the Australian Human Rights Business Award (jointly with KPMG)  in 2014. 

Grace Papers
prue@gracepapers.com.au
  www.gracepapers.com.au