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International Women’s Day reflection

Friday 8 March was International Women’s Day (IWD).

The long history of this global day of celebration and action stretches back to March 1911, when over a million people attended IWD events around the world to campaign for women’s rights.

In 2024, UN Women is marking the date with the theme ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’.

Reflecting on that concept, one point is clear: far more can still be done to invest in equity for women globally.

While some progress has been made in Australia and our region since the inaugural IWD, significant disparities persist globally, especially for disadvantaged populations.

According to the UN, the continuation of current trends would mean that by 2030, more than 342 million women and girls would be living in extreme poverty.

In Australia, research has shown an ongoing disparity in incomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and non-Indigenous Australian women. The impacts of that situation include reduced capacity for First Nations women to access health care.

In 2021, the employment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was approximately 51%, compared to 72% for non-Indigenous women. Australian-born women also had higher employment rates than women born in many overseas countries – particularly low and middle income countries.

Much work is needed to improve health and other outcomes for women in disadvantaged groups and to reduce the overall impacts of gender disparity on health.

NCIRS is committed to advocating for and supporting efforts to improve health outcomes for all women, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

With our partners, we are also working to support efforts to improve equity and ensure the voices of women are heard in the Indo-Pacific region.

Immunisation is critical to the ongoing improvement of health outcomes for women and is integrated with wider health system strengthening. NCIRS is committed to furthering the goals laid out at the first IWD, more than 100 years ago.

Professor Kristine Macartney
NCIRS Director