Kristine Ziwica

Kristine Ziwica is a Melbourne-based columnist and consultant who has 20 years' experience working in Australia, the United States and the UK on human rights and gender equality campaigns.

How to 'fix women' & get them to 'Lean In'? Examine the Budget

Ahead of the launch of the 2021 federal budget– a budget some suggested would be a “women’s budget” – many asked me what, specifically, I was looking for. What would indicate to me that the Morrison government had truly taken to heart the backlash to last year’s budget, in particular criticism that it had failed to deliver for women? I concede that the fact the government itself heavily implied that this year’s budget would be a “women’s budget” is, in a way, progress. Particularly when compar

Yes, telling women they should be happy they’re not being shot at is bad. But this is the moment the PM really took women for mugs

The fact that Scott Morrison refused to attend the historic women’s March 4 Justice in Canberra on Monday made headlines – as did his equally unfortunate musings at Question Time that the protestors should be happy they weren’t “met with bullets”. And while I get why that comment drew gasps of disbelief and media coverage, I actually think Morrison’s comments later in his full statement about protests were far more egregious — and indicative of the extent to which he takes women for mugs. And

We must not let Morrison and Co. determine 'what’s at stake'

At the start of his press conference on Thursday at which Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to Christian Porter’s categorical denial that he raped a young woman in 1988, Morrison held forth for nearly four minutes on “the rule of law”. In typically arrogant “Morrison knows best” mode — and with obvious contempt for anyone who might question his “final word” on whatever issue — Morrison informed the gathered media scrum and thereby the watching nation that “there is a lot at stake".

Spin a pay gap? No, it's never 'good news'

I suspect Libby Lyons, the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s director, is getting a little fed up with the Morrison government’s repeated, overzealous attempts to spin the gender pay gap. Judging by her comments in the press release accompanying the release of the latest gender pay gap figures today, she’s not having it. The headline crows: The national gender pay gap has dropped to 13.4%, a decline of 0.6 percentage points over the last six months. But before anyone — especially T

Didn’t know or didn’t want to know? The 'who knew what when' debate we should be having

The single overarching response I’ve had to the whole “who knew what when” debate that’s followed Brittany Higgins’ devastating rape allegations, is this: while Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his team can play whack a mole regarding who knew what when about this specific case, they certainly can’t claim they didn’t know that Australia’s Parliament and political workplaces have a problem. Watching them try to make that stick has been one of the most infuriating aspects of this past week. And

A Parents Strike? Yes, I quite like the sound of that

Forty-five years ago, an estimated 90 percent of Icelandic women took a “day off” to protest their low pay and marginalisation. Schools, factories and shops shut. Fathers were forced to care for their own children while women marched in the street and sang. Equal pay legislation was passed soon after — and in another five years, Iceland became the first European country to elect a woman as head of state. The women of Iceland were inspired by women in the US, who five years earlier invited women

What’s it going to take for the Prime Minister to ensure safe workplace for all women – not just someone’s 'daughter'?

Over the years, as story after story of abuse in political workplaces registered on our collective radar, I have asked myself: what’s it going to take for the Prime Minister to actually do something. Like, really do something, aside from offer his standard line that women should “go to the police” or make some cosmetic changes to the government’s woefully inadequate sexual harassment policy for political staffers.

Has the pandemic created the ideal conditions for a “parent’s revolution”?

Last year Dominque Barker, a 34-year-old Melbourne-based mother of two who works in the higher education sector, was inspired to take action. Having moved to Australia from New Zealand, Barker and her partner were dependent on long-day childcare as they both work full time and don’t have family close by to help fill in the gaps. But the cost was crippling. “My out-of-pocket expenses were more than my mortgage payment,” says Barker. “I had a good job, but, even then, childcare was unaffordable”.

Migrants, refugees & women with disabilities shortchanged by the budget

After the 2020 Federal budget landed, we saw a rapid, robust response highlighting the ways in which the budget failed to “deliver for women”. The response coalesced under the #CredibleWomen hashtag, which was inspired by a call Women’s Agenda’s own Georgie Dent received from a staffer in the PM’s office, who had taken issue with her piece highlighting the budget’s shortcomings in regard to women. “No one credible”, he told Dent, was making that argument.

The 2020 budget fails women in more ways than one: its response to sexual harassment is pathetic

This week marks the 3rd anniversary of the #MeToo movement going viral in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. If that has you in a reflective -mood — wondering how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go — it’s worth noting that buried deep in the 2020 budget papers and Women’s Economic Security Statement (WESS) is the government’s pathetic response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s sexual harassment inquiry.
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