‘Women’s rights are human rights’

Brisbane International Women's Day protest, March 5. Photo: Artsie Aspie/Flickr

"Women's rights are human rights!" was the theme of a rally and march held in Brisbane on March 5 to celebrate 100 years of International Women's Day (IWD). About 100 people rallied in Brisbane Square and later marched through city streets to Emma Miller Place for a concert.

The rally also called for an end to mandatory detention of refugees, an end to the Northern Territory intervention, equal pay, equal marriage rights and the repeal of all anti-abortion laws.

Long-time women's liberation activist Katrina Barben spoke about the history of IWD, from its origins in the New York garment workers strike of 1909, as well as the role of the Australian Union of Women since the early 1950s.

Fay Waddington, representing the Refugee Action Collective, addressed the issue of asylum seekers, especially the imprisonment of women and children in detention centres. She called for the release of refugees into the community, and for further rallies to force the major political parties to change their racist policies on refugees.

Michelle Robertson from the Australian Services Union discussed the current national case for equal pay for community service workers, which is essentially a case for equal pay for women as the vast majority of these workers are female.

Other speakers took up the issues of abortion rights for women; equal marriage rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation; Indigenous rights; and the important question of eating disorders among young women.

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