The United Nations' 'He For She' Campaign

Friday, 06 March 2015

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  • "… approximately 100 million children, including at least 60 million girls, are without access to primary schooling and more than two thirds of the world's 960 million illiterate adults are women;
  • 1 in 3 women and girls will experience physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime;
  • Worldwide, only one in five parliamentarians are women; and,
  • Globally, women are paid 10-30 per cent less than men."

These sobering statistics from UN Women highlight that there is much work still to be done in terms of supporting women to access education, stopping violence and enabling strategies for workplace equality. Annually across the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March. It is an occasion to raise awareness of women's issues and celebrate those who demonstrate moral courage. One such individual is Rabia Siddique.

Ms Siddique is a Perth-born criminal and human rights lawyer, retired British Army officer, former terrorism and war crimes prosecutor, humanitarian and published author. She is also the proud mother of six-year-old triplets. Her outstanding presentations to MLC parents and Collegians, and then at a Senior Years' Assembly with our guests from Christ Church Grammar School, revealed Ms Siddique's battle with discrimination after her involvement in a hostage crisis in Iraq. She is an inspiring example that education can equip you to make purposeful decisions.

Perhaps across the remaining 364 days of the year, we could take the intent of IWD and the essence of Ms Siddique's compelling story to inspire change in matters closer to home. This may include challenging stereotypes of women and girls, and speaking out when we witness sexist comments or sexual harassment; it should most definitely include not being a bystander to violence against women and girls.

The He For She Campaign was launched in New York in September 2014. The following one-minute clip succinctly calls for us to recognise that women's equality is human equality.