African teenager says she was held as sex slave in Sydney for weeks

A teenage girl from West Africa has said she was held in a Sydney home against her will and used as a sex slave for weeks before managing to escape.

The John Laws skirt saga: why do successful women defend sexism?

This week the great relic announced in his ancient, gravel tones the women he employs must wear skirts to work to please him.

Yet there they were, excusing Laws’ sexist ways and tone and skirt diktat on TV. “He’s actually a really good, decent man,” Rowe said.

No, he’s not – he’s someone treating professional work colleagues as objects of decoration.

“He’s a lovely man,” Buttrose echoed.

This is what Laws says of ogling his female staff: “I love them to look feminine. A skirt on a beautiful body is a very, very feminine thing.”

That’s not lovely. That’s the exploitation of a power dynamic in which workers are obliged to service the skeezy pleasure of the boss on top of doing their day job. Australian law says sexual harassment is not on, and the community knows anything close to sexually questionable behaviour at work is not on.

France gets a gender balanced cabinet

In 2017, it’s not something we should still need to marvel at, or even notice. Yet France’s new President Emmanuel Macron’s move to appoint a fifty/fifty gender split across his Cabinet is certainly newsworthy. Macron’s centrist government aims to bring a wide range of people together (from both the left and right), and 50% of them happen to be female.

The gender split follows a similar move by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who announced a gender balanced cabinet in 2015. Asked why he did it, Trudeau famously replied: “Because it’s 2015.”

Following the Australia Federal election last year, female representation in the Coalition fell to its lowest level since the early 1990s, with just 13 women sitting on government benches in the House of Reps. Less than a quarter of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s full ministry are female.

Peak Bodies Say Government’s ‘Witch-hunt’ on Single Parents is ‘Archaic’

In the 2017 budget, which aimed to “crackdown on welfare cheats”, the government announced from September 2018 single parents receiving welfare will need a third party to verify they are in fact single.

CEOs from Council of Single Mothers and their Children Victoria (CSMCV) and the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC) have condemned the move, calling it disrespectful, humiliating and archaic.

Sydney to host the 2018 Global Summit for Women

Sydney will host the 2018 Global Summit of Women, a prestigious international event dubbed “Davos for Women“.

The summit is over 25 years old and is described as a business summit which focuses on women’s advancement in the global economy.

Calls to Stop Mum’s Missing Out at Work This Mother’s Day

Coinciding with Mother’s Day, Diversity Council Australia is drawing attention to the gender pay gap and the challenges mother’s face in returning to work.

DCA CEO, Lisa Annese, told Pro Bono News the “motherhood penalty” was a uniquely female experience and one Australia needed to be aware of.

“It is a very broad definition but essentially it means that women who become mothers, or really take on caring responsibilities, have a penalty in the workplace in terms of their pay, their ability to progress, sometimes their conditions of employment, and essentially it is as though your career gets derailed once you become a parent,” Annese said.

NSW MPs vote down abortion decriminalisation, but change is unstoppable

Women have again been let down by the majority of MPs in the NSW Legislative Council who voted down a Greens’ bill to decriminalise abortion on May 11. The vote was 25 against and 14 in favour of Dr Mehreen Faruqi’s private members’ bill.

Faruqi said she was disappointed with the outcome and described those MPs who voted against the bill as “completely out of step with modern medical practice, community expectation and laws in almost all other states”. She said although some “politicians are completely out of step with community expectations”, the law would eventually be changed.

‘Women’ and the Budget? Didn’t get a mention

The word ‘women’ wasn’t mentioned during Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Budget Speech in Parliament last night. But we’re not alone. ‘Climate change’ also didn’t get a mention, nor did ‘sustainability’ or ‘environment’.

Can’t she just ‘express more milk’? The long road to a woman finally breastfeeding in the Federal Parliament

Senator Larissa Waters’ second daughter Alia made history yesterday, when she became the first baby to be breastfed in the Australian Parliament. Having only just returned to work following Alia’s birth a few weeks ago, Waters tweeted a photo of herself breastfeeding Alia, saying we need to see more babies in Parliament House.

The Parliament must be family-friendly for members. It should set an example to other workplaces, and ensure it’s as accessible as possible for women no matter what their circumstances.

Its time to decriminalise abortion

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has expressed its strong support for decriminalisation of abortion in NSW. The Abortion Law Reform (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment) Bill 2016 introduced by Greens MLC Dr. Mehreen Faruqi is due to be debated in the NSW Legislative Council this Thursday.

The current NSW laws are archaic and not reflective of community values or of internationally recognised human rights principles. According to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Australia has an obligation to protect the rights of women and girls to access health services, including family planning and to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights