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Dear Graduate House Resident,

When I was working in the then Telecom Australia’s HR Department in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was closely involved in building a recognition and acceptance of gender equality in that organisation.  Today, I still find it hard to believe that when I first worked in the Public Service, when a female employee was married, it was mandatory for her to resign, and if she wished, she could come back to work as a temporary employee.

Since then, there have been tremendous achievements in the understanding and acceptance of equality in communities around the World – BUT – in some areas we still have a long way to go.

In my capacity as International Vice President of Variety the Children’s Charity, almost every day I am aware of inequalities faced by women and girls in so many countries. I still see thousands of young girls who are deprived of opportunities to a better life, better health and education, and basic necessities that we so often take for granted, but to them are life-changing. Malala Yousafzai the Pakistani activist and youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, has been a fantastic, passionate and high profile activist for female education – her crusade is making a huge difference.

Even in our own Victoria Police, where I am deputy Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Board, we have been experiencing issues relating to equality and respect.  A recent independent review undertaken at the request of the Chief Commissioner by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, found an element of sex discrimination and predatory behaviour amongst some Victoria Police personnel. The Force has now embarked on a major program to address the issues identified in that report.

Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue that benefits everyone.  It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness and take positive action about equality.

This is something that everyone of us can do something about – and we can do it right now.

I strongly encourage you to join your fellow residents at Graduate House in their HeForShe Campaign to support gender equality. Sometimes an intention is not enough. Let’s come together in order to ensure a future where, in particular all of our girls and women, know that their lives matter, that we’re looking out for them, and that everything can be, and will be, OK.

With my best wishes,
 
President Ken V Loughnan AO

Learn more about the HeForShe campaign at Graduate House and get involved today!

featured image: SPÖ Presse und Kommunikation, HeForShe – Männer für Frauen-Gleichstellung