To mark the centenary of International Women’s Day, the Australian Government has announced it will work with World YWCA to help young women in the Asia Pacific become future leaders.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd said that it is worth celebrating the achievements of women, but also to recognise the challenges still faced by many, particularly in the region.
‘Supporting women’s leadership is central to reducing poverty, enhancing economic growth and democracy, and increasing the well-being of women, girls and their families,’ Rudd said.
‘Australia will contribute $500,000 over two years to the World YWCA’s Power to Change Fund, which has already provided training to young women in health, politics and microfinance in the Solomon Islands,’ he announced.
World YWCA is a global movement of 125 million women and girls working for justice, peace, health, human dignity, freedom and the environment in 125 countries. It develops women’s leadership to find local solutions to the global inequalities women face.
Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis said that World YWCA’s work in the Asia Pacific reflects the importance of investing in women and girls as agents of change and role models in their communities.
‘Equipped with skills, knowledge and resources, young women and girls can be a powerful force in changing lives and communities around them,’ Ellis said.
‘I look forward to seeing these Asia-Pacific women in leadership positions and in public life, making decisions that create real and lasting change in their countries and in our region,’ she added.
Rudd and Ellis also welcomed the launch of UN Women Australia, formerly UNIFEM Australia, an organisation, which will help campaign for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Australia and around the world.
‘The Australian Government has played an active role over the past four years in negotiations to create UN Women, and have advocated strongly for strengthening work on gender equality within the United Nations system,’ said Rudd.
UN Women Australia is an active participant in United Nations activities relating to gender and development and sends an annual delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
‘Not only will UN Women Australia work hard to represent the views of women, it will also raise financial resources to support the programs and priorities of UN Women and the Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women,’ said Ellis.
The Australian Government has chosen UN Women Australia and the National Women’s Alliances to provide a series of events throughout the year to celebrate the centenary.