Education is the key to a gender-balanced world...

Greg williamson

MACKAY Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson has never ironed one of his wife Annette’s dresses and she has never ironed one of his shirts.

In his words they - “have attacked everything as a team.”

And this year marks their 40th wedding anniversary and without each other they would never of been able to achieve the things they have.

This year’s campaign theme for International Women’s Day on Friday March 8 is #balanceforbetter while celebrating women’s successes and calling for a more gender- balanced world.  This week The Just Saying Project will host our own online campaign with women and men ( to keep it balanced) from the Mackay community and their thoughts on women’s rights and a gender-balanced world.

The Just Saying Project founder Fallon Drewett sat down with the Mayor and spoke about the importance of International Women’s Day and Queensland Women’s Week and how education and teaching the lessons of gender equality in the home are the keys to a gender- balanced world.

 “Annette and I have always worked as a team and I have had jobs where I have been away, 4 out of the 5 working days for 5 to 6 years while raising our kids; but we couldn’t send our children to a private school if I wasn’t doing the job I was doing.

“We always rationalized it, there was never this is your job to raise the kids, I was earning more money and I lived away and she put her hand up and said this is what we got to do. We have never looked at it from a gender perspective. To that extent she has been exceptionally resilient, strong and delivered.

“But from my perspective, it was really hard to be away from a growing family, “ he said.

Mayor Williamson said when it came to gender balance it has to be a male and female acceptance of an issue that needs to be solved, through education and to start in the home.

“In our society we are still lumbered with a section of our community who at heart don’t believe in women’s equally or gender based equality.”

When speaking about activism and protests to have the voices of women heard, Mayor Williamson makes a strong argument that sometimes it can be very overwhelming at times.

“In our modern world, there is so much trauma, disasters, scandals and hashtag events,that people get a little overwhelmed and exhausted by it all. While activism in my view can deliver a political focus on a particular problem, I think because of the exhausted nature or the mere fact that social media can unload this on you all day, every day, it might have the opposite effect.

“My notes always come back to education, the fact that we have to back up education for males and females with a good supportive network for women, and that needs to include some form of mentoring for women.”

 Speaking about a gender balance world, Mayor Williamson said it was a huge question.

“Women make up 70 % of the world’s poor. I don’t know if we should tackle the world in this, when you look at it there are 130 million women who are severely and systematically discriminated against in terms of pay, in general equality, the ability to work or have money in the bank.

“The World Economic Forum has clearly defined that if there was equality in the world and true pay equality it would contributed to about 20 trillion dollars to the global GDP there is clearly an economic benefit from the developed world’s perspective .”

Mayor Williamson said it was possible to have a gender-balanced world it will just take time.

“The World Economic Forum said last year it would take 100 years to deliver global equality.

“It is time to start talking about it, start that educative process as a community to say, gender balance is important, it will deliver a business outcome, it will deliver a strong economic outcome and a positive for our community, he said.

Words with Heart: Fallon Drewett

Photo Love: Coffee and Hops