It will take time for every leader in every country to embrace the full potential of women...

Today’s final IWD #balanceforbetter feature is Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan. Belinda has been a huge supporter of women in the Mackay community and her answers of the questions JSP gave her reflect that…

Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan believes activism and increasing women’s movements are very important ways to make sure women’s voices are heard.  Photo: Coffee and Hops

Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan believes activism and increasing women’s movements are very important ways to make sure women’s voices are heard.

Photo: Coffee and Hops

Q1. IWD's theme this year is #balanceforbetter and is calling for a more gendered - balanced world, how do you think we can achieve this? Is it possible?

Gender balance is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of their gender. While Australia has made progress towards gender equality in recent decades, particularly in education, health and female workforce participation, the gender gap in the Australian workforce is still prevalent. Women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to advance their careers as far as men, and accumulate less retirement or superannuation savings. To really achieve a gender balanced world, we need to provide more equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men. This requires:

•Workplaces to provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value

•Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce

•Access to all occupations and industries, including leadership roles, regardless of gender; and

•Elimination of discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation to family and caring responsibilities.

The World Economic Forum in its Global Gender Gap Report 2014 estimated that it will take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity in the workplace. Almost eighty more years until companies and governments are equally led by men and women. I believe it is possible but we have a long way to go!

 

Q2. We are heading into an era of movements and activism, calling for a more balance in the world. As a leader in our community is this an important way to have women's voices heard and make changes are reality? Or is there another way ?

Yes, I think activism and increasing women’s movements are very important ways to make sure women’s voices are heard. We are all on a journey, and it will take time for every leader in every sector in every country to embrace the full potential of women. However, we can help accelerate that change by working together to reinvent gender roles, reset norms and provide equal opportunities for all.

 

 

Q3. Who are the leading ladies in your life? What makes them strong, brave, resilient and role models?

 

I’m surrounded by so many amazing women – I really do feel very blessed. My main role model though has always been my maternal grandmother. She was the most kind, caring, resilient woman, who just had the courage to face life front on.  She lived a simplistic life, appreciating all that she had. At times in my own life I have been grateful to have the family traits of courage, determination and resilience.  I have managed to succeed in times of adversity with the traits passed down to me by the amazing women who came before me. My existence is do or die. 

 

Q4. Why is International Women's Day important for women living and contributing to the Mackay and greater Whitsunday region?  

For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated or observed to advance women’s equality, and I believe it is as relevant now as it was then. This day commemorates the inspiring role of women both around the world and in our own community, to secure women’s rights and build more equitable societies. IWD also remembers the voices of the many women that go unheard and who continue to be dominated from securing their rights and realising their full potential. Celebrating IWD locally gives us an opportunity to reflect, rejoice and recharge ourselves together in community with other women. It’s also a day to connect with one another physically, virtually and spiritually – and to give thanks for the generations of amazing women who have come before us, and the generations of phenomenal women still to come!