The White House, the World Bank and the Pentagon. What do they all have in common? Washington D.C. locations? International centres of power? Visits by a compelling Australian speaker?. Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissionaire addressed all three in the same month. She is presenting at TEDxMelbourne’s ‘Seeing the Unseen’.
Elizabeth Broderick was appointed to Commissionaire in 2007. She has a background in law and was a partner and board member at Blake Dawson. Now as part of her remit she travels throughout the world, talking to acid attack victims in Dhaka, Bangladesh and camping with Aboriginal women in the Kimberley, raising awareness and advocating against gender discrimination on Australia’s behalf.
In her role as Sex Discrimination Commissionaire, Elizabeth has advocated the prevention of violence and sexual harassment against women, Australia’s paid parental leave scheme, the improvement of economic security for women and increasing gender equality laws. She speaks at the United Nations annually and recently lead the Commission’s Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian Defence Force.
Refreshingly, Elizabeth chooses twitter to engage with Australians and publicly address sex discrimination issues : ‘Affected by discrimination in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave or return to work – tell @LizBroderick.’ Pregnancy is the top discrimination complaint in Australian workplaces. Through social media Elizabeth shares local and international stories of change: the YWCA in the Solomon Islands, reports on CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) women on boards, women coming together to end the US debt ceiling crisis.
When the Coalition announced its Cabinet which included one woman, she commented “When women make up more than half the population, it’s disappointing that there’s only one woman in Cabinet. The absence of women at decision-making levels is a problem in every sector in Australia, politics included. I think it emphasises that we still have a long way to go in addressing women’s under-representation at leadership levels in Australia.” (news.com.au, September 19, 2013)
‘Seeing the unseen’ is set to explore the question: is ‘unseen’ the same as ‘unknown?’ Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissionaire, will answer the question, How can Australia make the unequal equal?
She has contributed to several publications including Frankie, Time Out, The Pun, Lingua Franca, Sotto, Horror, Sleaze and Trash, Spineless Wonders and Australian Love Poems 2013.