Women’s March4Justice returns for 2022: here’s everything you need to know

Multiple marches are planned through major cities in Australia this Sunday. Photo: March4Justice/Facebook.

By TILEAH DOBSON

It’s been nearly a year since former political staffer Brittany Higgins made her well-publicised rape allegations, which shocked Australians and sparked a movement within Parliament House and society at large.

It was the catalyst for a review by deputy secretary for governance in the Prime Minister’s department, Stephanie Foster, who examined processes and procedures around reporting and responding to serious incidents that occur during parliamentary employment.

Similarly, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins was tasked with investigating the culture of parliamentary workplaces in a wider review.

Foster’s review discovered procedures “are not designed or able to respond appropriately to serious incidents in the parliamentary workplace, particularly to sexual assault”.

Both reviews set out clear and concise instructions and recommendations to improve and ensure safety for all workers, particularly women working for the federal government. However, many women, including Janine Hendry – whose tweet sparked the snap march last year – have criticised the government’s lack of action.

“Last year’s march was a catalyst for women and their allies to pull together and get organised,” Hendry said.

“This year, on the anniversary of that historic march, women are asking what’s improved? What’s changed for the better? They will be taking these questions with them to the ballot box.”

A number of March4Justice rallies have been organised for this Sunday, 27 February, with organisers expecting tens of thousands of women and allies to join.

With this being an election year, many women will be taking their demands of change straight to the ballot box. Photo: March4Justice/Facebook.

Organiser for the Melbourne marches, Bronwyn Currie, hopes they remind parliament that the anger felt last year has not cooled.

“This federal election women will not be smiling and asking for change – we will be in the streets and online demanding reform to end gendered violence, deliver real justice, and secure safety at work,” Currie said.

“Let’s be really clear – the collective anger we saw motivate tens of thousands of people to flood the streets this time last year has not gone away, it hasn’t blown over, and it’s not a niche issue for a select few.

“From Brisbane to Bega, Perth to Melbourne, Sydney to Adelaide, organisers in every state have been inundated with interest. We believe more people will be involved this year than we saw last year – that’s how big it’s getting.”

This march has several demands, including that all political parties not only introduce a National Gender Equality Act but also implement all 55 recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commissions’ Respect@Work report.

Many women and allies have expressed their rage and disgust over the government’s lack of action on the Foster review. Photo: Kath Angus/Facebook.

The demands comes off of the back of former Australian of the Year Grace Tame’s work in exposing inconsistent laws on sexual assault crimes in Australia.

While there are marches planned for other major cities in Australia, there are no public planned marches for Sydney. The March4Justice organisers stated on their Facebook page that due to the last wave of Covid-19 hitting the city hard, people still being wary of large gatherings.

However, there will be live-streamed events Sydneysiders can attend – while physical events will proceed in at least 27 other Australian cities.

For more information, visit www.march4justice.org.au/where-will-you-march/.

Tileah Dobson is the news editor and sub-editor of the Sydney Sentinel.

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