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The significance of 23rd August dates back to 1894 in South Australia. It was the day the Women’s Suffrage Petition was presented to the South Australian Parliament.The significance of 23rd August dates back to 1894 in South Australia.

It was the day the Women’s Suffrage Petition was presented to the South Australian Parliament.The petition contained 11,600 signatures collected from within South Australia and the Northern Territory. The petition was also presented when the 1894 Bill that led to the enfranchisement of South Australian women was read in Parliament. Women achieved full voting rights in South Australia at a time when women in Australia and throughout most of the world did not have the legal right to vote in most elections.It is with this spirit of equality – ensuring that all members of our society, regardless of gender (or for that matter, race, appearance, social status and so on) have the same rights as everybody else.

While some people may feel apathetic towards ‘gender equality’, worldwide – here and in many places outside of our fine nation – inequality is rife.Perhaps we have heard these stories one too many times, and perhaps we feel ‘gender equality’ has become another buzzword, over-mixed into a conversation that has been happening for years. But the conversation continues because the gap still exists.

HeForShe continues the conversation and aims to encourage action.In 2016, Residents at Graduate House took on the challenge to adopt the United Nations Women challenge, and established Give a flower, get a smile, an offshoot awareness-raising campaign echoing the same sentiments as HeForShe.

In 2017 at this, our second HeForShe event, our President Dr Ken V Loughnan AO addressed the crowd, expressing his frustration about the gender pay gap in Australia.

“The whole issue about HeForShe … is one which is designed to draw attention to the issues – just a practical way of drawing attention to the issues of gender equality.The fact that I’m standing here today with a couple of flowers, is just a token of recognition of what we can do as an organisation.”

From there, attendees gave out flowers for equality, as well as selling Graduate House cupcakes iced by the Residents, with all proceeds going again to the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation.The HeForShe Day concluded with a panel discussion on Multiculturalism and Gender Equality featuring Professor Kwong Lee Dow OAM, Chair of the Australian Multicultural Foundation; Ms Ria Bleathman, Founder/Director of Five Consulting; Cr Viv Nguyen, President, Vietnamese Community Australia, Victorian Chapter; Cr Molina Asthana, Founder of Multicultural Women in Sport; Mr Tim Carroll, State Director Victoria and Tasmania, Austrade: and panel moderator, Dr Kerry Bennett, CEO/Head of College of The Graduate Union.

You can watch the stream from the panel discussion here.

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