March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day that grew out of efforts in the early 20th century to promote women’s rights.
And you won’t have to look too hard around Ballarat to find events to mark the day.
Margi Cousins from the Ballarat Business Women Network says we’ve come a long way when it comes to equity but there remains much to be done.
“As we get a return on our investment, as we support each other and grow and empower women, we’re actually starting to make significant changes to balance out between male and female.”
One Ballarat construction company is seeing the benefit of embracing a more female friendly workforce by teaming with Women’s Health Grampians to champion women in the male dominated industry.
S. J. Weir construction has engaged with WHG’s ‘Act on Site’ program to help address barriers for women entering the construction industry with women currently making up just 3% of the sector.
Act On Site is a federally funded, organisation wide program rolled out by Women’s Health Grampians tailored to supporting equal opportunity and promoting gender equality in traditionally male dominated industries across the Grampians region.
The program has helped S.J. Weir tackle pay discrimination, sexism through understanding inappropriate behaviour and attitudes, and making the worksites more female friendly, all while filling staff shortages.
Additionally today the Ballarat Foundation has launched its new “Women’s Fund” with the goal to fund local, female-focused projects.
It comes as the foundation’s ‘Vital Signs’ report has found family violence rates in Ballarat are 12% higher than the state average, while two-thirds of people seeking housing services nationally are women.
Membership to the women’s fund is a $500 donation, with members then to vote on the project to be funded at next year’s women’s day event in March.
It’s hoped the fund can raise $50,000 in its first year to support the chosen cause.