The unfinished business of the 21st century

Elizabeth Broderick has stepped down after eight years of making change as Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.

Elizabeth Broderick has stepped down after eight years of making change as Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission. And she gave a powerful speech to mark the moment. We’ve picked out some highlights. Read the full speech here.

  1. The personal still matters - the lived experience of inequality, of exclusion, of hardship. Not only does the personal matter, it is precisely the thing that will ultimately spark change – it’s the stories that will enable us to take that next step forward.
  2. Gender equality is not a battle of the sexes; it is a battle for equality – a battle that men and women must wage side by side.

  1. You don’t have to be extraordinary to have influence. One woman in the United Nations told me, “She did what she could, when she could and that’s how she changed the world.” That simple concept gives me confidence and energy.
  2. “Do what you can, when you can” is a beacon of hope.
  3. Not all women start from the same position. Therefore, we must be wary of averages, of presenting a uniform picture, or of proposing a one size fits all solution.
  4. To create change you must take the case for change from people’s heads to their hearts, with individual stories the spark that fuels a commitment to take action.
  5. Gender equality is the unfinished business of the 21st century. When I hear the system is not working, I remind myself that it is the imperfections that teach us to make better decisions, to right the wrongs of the past and to work for a better future.
  6. A life without advocating for change, is not a life that will have meaning for me
Isabel Dunstan | 23rd September 2015

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