Thousands of people gathered near Parliament House in Melbourne today as part of the nation-wide March4Justice rallies, protesting against gender inequality and demanding justice for victims of sexual assault.
Event organiser and Animal Justice Party spokesperson Bronwyn Curry said it was “something women and girls should be proud of”.
The protests are in response to a series of recent accusations of gender-based discrimination and violence in federal politics.
A spokesperson for the Australian Workers Union said women were not yet equal in the workforce – one in five women have left a job because they feel unsafe at work, while women retire, on average, with 50 per cent less super than male counterparts.
Throughout the protest, women and allies stood in solidarity while speakers shared personal stories of discrimination.
Transgender advocate Korra Koperu called for justice.
“We want justice and we want it now, and not just behind closed doors,” they said.
During a minute’s silence, the names of 898 women and children who have lost their lives due to gendered violence in Australia since 2008 were displayed.
Protesters then turned their backs to the stage in a display of defiance against politicians and parliament.
When asked what protesters wanted to achieve today, a local hospitality worker shared the need for a cultural shift within Australian society.
“I want the country to notice, I want the government to notice and to realise that we do care,” the worker said. “I want the men of Australia to realise that we do stand together, even if we are silent because we are scared. We stand with every woman in this country. We just need a massive cultural shift.”
Today’s protests are set to be the start of a nation-wide movement to fight against the discrimination of women within the workplace.
Event organisers said strikes are being planned for the near future.
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