Now Reading: Why does International Women’s Day still matter in 2020? Insights from our leadership team

Why does International Women’s Day still matter in 2020? Insights from our leadership team

International Women’s Day

Sunday 8 March 2020

You can’t be what you can’t see

Globally an estimated 30 per cent of senior management roles are held by women – the highest on record.

But the gender pay gap remains. Women are still not represented adequately on boards or in our parliaments. Thirty-five per cent of women globally have experienced sexual or physical violence. Most of the poor people in the world are women.  Australia is no exception.

For the World Bank, education holds many of the answers to tackling this inequality.

Education empowers women and enables assertiveness.

Education can provide economic independence.

Education is about designing a different future together.

This is why at Torrens University Australia, we champion the power of people to connect the world for good.

Recently, at a Torrens University gathering, Natasha Stott Despoja AO told our staff and students “you can’t be, what you can’t see.”

We are proud that 62 per cent of our staff are female.

We are proud that we have female leadership in our executive team, in our Deans, and across programs leadership.

We are proud that we attract high female enrolments, with an average rate of 63% (2016-2018).

Our university has the highest ranking among Australian universities for enrolments by women in non-traditional backgrounds, meaning we are ensuring women continue to forge into new pathways and new industries.

We want our staff and graduates to be changemakers. We are relentless in imbuing curiosity, innovation and collaboration. We believe in being bold, creative and global.

#MeToo, Greta Thunberg, Bring Back Our Girls and the marriage equality movements show the power and potency of informed action, and empowered women and men.

Torrens University is designing a different, more equal future. Join us.

Our President and CEO Linda Brown opened up questions directed to some of our influential female leaders.

Enjoy their insights here and please ask yourself the same questions:

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Why does it still matter in 2020?

What does it mean for Torrens University, THINK Education and Media Design School moving forward?

Professor Cath Rogers
Dean of Health
THINK Education

Cath Rogers

International Women’s Day for me is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and be grateful for it. I often think about my mother’s life. Despite being blessed with a keen intellect, she had no opportunities to go to university, or even finish high school. I have had those opportunities, and I am so grateful to the feminists before me who have insisted that women and girls must have access to education and university study.

And yet we still have so far to go.

In Australia, on average one woman is murdered per week by her partner. The recent and horrific murder of Hannah Clarke and her three young children in suburban Brisbane reminds us that family violence is a national emergency. The International Women’s Day 2020 theme, I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights, recognises that progress towards equality for women, on a global scale, has been far too slow. The continuing violence towards women in Australia is evidence of that. There is much more to do.

Education for women and girls continues to be a key strategy for improving their lives, and indeed improving communities. Our institution offers educational opportunity to women and girls from around the world, and we have more women students than ever before. We can be proud but not complacent. Have we shaped our staffing, leadership, teaching and research practices to respond to women’s needs? Do we sufficiently acknowledge the socio-cultural contexts of women’s lives, and do we cater to women’s support needs?

Professor Rogers believes in the transformative power of education and is absolutely loving giving back to her students here at Torrens University. You can hear more from Professor Cath Rogers from our Brisbane Love Your Story event in August 2019. Here is her Love Your Story, Love Our Story.

Dr Mieke Leppens FRSA
Dean of Design and Creative Technology LANZ
Dean of Media Design School
Torrens University Australia

Mieke Leppens

International women day in 2020 recommends women today to “be the changemakers for equality in their generation.” This starts by being the changemaker of your own destiny.

As far back as 1945 the great French Feminist Simone de Beauvoir urged women to “Change your life today and not to gamble on the future,” she commended women to “act today without delay.”

Even now in 2020 we see that much change is needed to improve equality for women internationally. We know education has the greatest impact on positive change when it comes to equality for women and this starts here at Torrens University and with our students. The Design and Creative Technology Faculty has around 60% female students and is a proud changemaker for equality.

Kath Curry
General Manager, Health and Education
THINK Education

Kath Curry

Around the globe a litany of women have been empowered by the inspirational dream of Luise Zietz – whether that be consciously or sub-consciously. Zietz, the Leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed the concept of an “International Women’s Day” at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1910. Her dream became a reality the following year.

As a woman who has spent her adult career striving for improvements to life conditions of women in the health and education sectors, l am sympathetic to Zietz’s dream for equal opportunities.

Whilst much has been gained in women’s struggle for equality since the early 1900s, the fact remains that globally, women’s health and education is not equivalent to that of men. For this reason, more than any other, l strongly encourage all people – women and men – to champion the cause of equality.

At Torrens University, THINK Education and Media Design School we have the opportunity to embrace the philosophy of the courageous women who fought for change. I welcome reflection of their efforts and celebrate the progress and achievements that have been attained. I am grateful and in turn accept the opportunity to inspire, motivate and empower our students.

By thinking globally and acting locally, Torrens University, THINK Education and Media Design School can make a difference to the lives of women, families and communities.

Ruth Cooper
Country Director – NZ
Media Design School

Ruth Cooper

International Women’s Day is a day for us to celebrate and recognise the journey of women through the ages and the roles our foremothers have played to help create a world that recognises and accepts the need for equality of the sexes.

It still matters in 2020 because women’s rights are still being marginalised across the globe. Women continue to experience inequality, continue to fight bias, and continue to struggle for recognition for their contribution to society.

What is means for Media Design School moving forward is that we must ensure that our women have a voice and are recognised and celebrated for being women. That through collective action and shared responsibility we create a learning environment that provides gender equality.

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