OPINION: We've come so far... Yet we're still hosting morning teas? Reflecting on International Women’s Day leaves me with mixed emotions. It is a day that I celebrate the women who fought for my right to vote, the women who took to the streets so that I have pay equality, the women who chained themselves to bars so that I can drink at a pub and women that have smashed the glass ceiling and paved a way for the women that walk behind them. It is a day we say I see you and thank you, it is also a day that I am starkly reminded of the journey we have to go. In recent years, women have been recognised as the fastest-growing group of homeless people, they are retiring with 24% less super than their male counterparts, approximately 1 in 4 women have experienced violence by an intimate partner since the age of 15 and 1 in 4 people are still digitally excluded, disproportionately impacting different groups - especially women. I see it every day at The Living Room - women fleeing unsafe situations with no means of digital connection to family, friends, or the services that exist to support them during this time. Australian women on low incomes, unpaid carers, women with disability, First Nations women, and older women are more likely to be digitally excluded. This means having lower skills, confidence, and less affordable access to the internet and relevant devices. Women are more likely to report online safety concerns than men and 30% of women have experienced online abuse or harassment. Compared to their male peers, girls online are facing more threats of sexual violence, more comments about their appearance and behaviour, and are more often told not to speak out and have an opinion. Based on 2021 trends, the global gender gap was not expected to be closed for another 136 years and according to the latest Work Economic Forum estimates, the world is now going backwards on this long road to gender equality. With a widening gender gap in the labor force, the cost-of-living crisis is expected to hit women hardest. As I said, mixed emotions. When you attend your morning tea today, see a post on social media, or go home to your family hold space for those mixed emotions because I am not the only one feeling them. Ask open questions, listen, and commit to doing something different this year because I don’t want to carry these mixed emotions for the 136 years that the World Economic Forum has predicted it will take for gender equality. This International Women’s Day, Youth Projects is raising funds to purchase the necessary tech (like a mobile, access to a computer, and Wi-Fi) to connect women impacted by domestic violence at The Living Room. Help us to Crack the #Code and reduce the digital gender gap for women fleeing unsafe situations with no means of digital connection to family, friends, or the services that exist to support them. 👉 Donate Today 👈 Please select a donation amount (required) $30 will provide a new sim-card for someone escaping domestic violence $60 contributes directly to cracking the code, bridging the digital gender gap $220 will go towards purchasing a basic smart-phone for someone escaping domestic violence Other Set up a regular donationDonate For any media enquiries, please call Nic Horton (Marketing & Communications Manager) on 0458 911 299. Written by Angela Gaylard, Co-Chair of Youth Projects’ Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Angela has over 15 years of experience in change management and driving impact frameworks. She has led strategic divisions within private businesses, NFP and education institutions. She is a passionate advocate for Organisational Development, Change Management, and Strategy Implementation to help organisations to achieve strong service outcomes for clients, boost organisational performance, and attract, develop & retain talent. Angela is currently Head of People & Culture at Youth Projects and is a proud gender equality campaigner, LGBTQI ally, and personal development enthusiast.