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Two women pictured with 'break the bias' text skewed to the right-hand side.

International Women's Day (8 March) is a global day to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, past and present. It is also a time to challenge gender stereotypes and work towards greater gender parity across all human endeavour.

From street rallies to glass ceilings

International Women’s Day has now been celebrated across the world for more than a century. It’s unofficial foray into Australian culture first took place in 1928, when a feminist organisation known as the Militant Women's Movement led a rally through Sydney and called for equal pay for equal work, paid leave, an eight-hour working day for shop girls and the basic wage for the unemployed.

Australia has come a long way since then, with Australian women now comprising 47.9% of all employees across the country and being firmly in the majority when it comes to attaining a tertiary education. However, there is still work to be done, with women being paid 13.8% less than men across the nation and undergraduate starting salaries commencing at 3.9% less for women than their male counterparts[1].

Gender parity is an important priority at Renewal SA and this year we are shining a light on some of the female role models within our organisation who are making a difference in their field, breaking down gender stereotypes and paving the way for more women to join the property industry. Read about Christine Steele, Chelsey Smith, Emily Salvati and Alanna Monteleone, who share some of their lived experiences and hopes for a gender-equal workforce.

[1] Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Gender equality workplace statistics at a glance, 24 February 2022


The International Women's Day platform——is asking people everywhere to #BreakTheBias and help create a world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive; one that’s free from gender assumptions, stereotypes and discrimination.

A groundswell is already in motion. As reported by BBC World News, in the past couple of years alone we have seen the New Zealand Government instigate paid bereavement leave for women (and their partners) who have a miscarriage or stillbirth; pioneer Kamala Harris become the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice-president; Tanzania, Estonia, Sweden, Samoa, Tunisia and Honduras all elect their first female leaders; and Sudan criminalise female genital mutilation.[1]

And yet in other quarters we have witnessed major steps back. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on women’s rights, with the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021 reporting that the time now needed to close the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years[1]. And the seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August last year has seen Afghan girls denied a secondary education and many women banned from continuing their careers.

[1] BBC World News, International Women's Day 2022: History, marches and celebrations, 5 March 2022

Looking ahead

We know that gender balance is not just a women’s issue, but an economic issue. The evidence shows that a strong and active female workforce generates higher standards of living for families and the community and boosts national economic growth.

International Women’s Day is the ideal opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come in forging inclusive work cultures, focus on what more we can do to build workplaces where women thrive and unite with our peers to lead ongoing and meaningful change to the modern workscape.

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