YWCA Victoria speaks out on issues impacting women’s equality and advocates for improved opportunities for women. YWCA Victoria is committed to developing different forms of activism, often in partnership with other organisations, that contributes to informed and productive community debate, progressive public policy and positive changes for women. We advocate on issues such as affordable and appropriate housing for women, sexual and reproductive health rights and ending violence against women.
You can read about the issues we care about and advocate for here.
Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
In June 2011, the organisation submitted to the Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. YWCA Victoria believes that additional rights should be included in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, to specifically protect Victorian women. While the Charter contains a number of civil, political and cultural rights, economic and social rights have not been included. YWCA Victoria understands that when women are unable to exercise their economic and social rights, they struggle to exercise their civil, political and cultural rights.
This submission will focus on YWCA Victoria priorities of housing, economic security and the prevention of violence against women and whilst this submission will emphasise gender equality for women as a whole, YWCA Victoria would like to note the importance of taking account of other groups whose rights are not guaranteed, such as CALD or indigenous women, women with disabilities or women from a rural or remote background.
YWCA Victoria considers the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as vital in ensuring women’s rights are protected in Victoria. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has confirmed that ‘gender equality is an overarching principle that applies to the enjoyment of all rights- civil, cultural, economic, political and social- and that the right to gender equality is not merely a right to non-discrimination’6. YWCA Victoria believes that the rights in CEDAW should be incorporated formally into the Charter.
YWCA Victoria believes that rights from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) should also be included in the Charter. Specifically, YWCA Victoria believes that the right to equality between men and women in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights (Article 3), the obligation to protect the family and an obligation to provide special protection for mothers and children (Article 10), the right to an adequate standard of living including food, clothing and housing (Article 11) and the right to the highest attainable standard of health (Article 12) should be included in the Charter. YWCA Victoria believes that all of the rights mentioned above, as well as the civil and political rights on which the current Charter is based are interdependent and indivisible.
You can read more of our submission here.