The importance of equality and respect

A cultural change needs to start at a community level if there is ever going to be gender equality, says high profile activist Phil Cleary.

The former VFL premiership coach and independent politician is a passionate advocate for change in attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate gender inequality.

Mr Cleary will talk at The Cube Wodonga on November 23 to share his insights and thoughts on this important topic, its links to violence against women and the role we can all play.

Since the murder of his 25-year-old sister, Vicki, in 1987 Mr Cleary has been at the forefront of the campaign to stop violence against women.

It’s widely acknowledged that his books, newspaper articles and media commentaries were pivotal to the abolition of the law of provocation in Victoria and changing community attitudes to violence against women.

Mr Cleary has been researching and studying the subject of gender equality and has come to a conclusion.

"I have concluded it is all about male entitlement and social arrangements that give men the idea that women are their property," he said.

"Now this might be changing but that is the core of the problem and so when I talk about the question I will talk about not only my private history but what I think is the history of the violence, the campaigning and how people have come now to understand the depth of the problem.

"One of the major problems is that men are still resistant to women asserting their right to independence.

"Men have to acknowledge that women have the same rights as them and if you enter into a relationship that women are not your property."

So what is a solution?

Mr Cleary said local communities had to commit to educational strategies and have a full understanding of the question if there is ever to be equality.

"The struggle has to be won on the ground and in the community at the local footy club, the local sports club, and down at the pub and in the family," he said.

"The great challenge for society and men at large is to also challenge these views in those settings."

The November 23 event is aimed at workplaces and sporting club, as well as general community, to make them feel empowered to do something within their setting to create a respectful and equitable Wodonga.

A question and answer session will follow with panel members including:

  • Phil Cleary – gender equality advocate
  • Naomi Bailey - Capacity Building Leaders for gender equity at Women's Health Goulburn North East
  • Steve Montgomery – Men’s Behaviour Change Co-ordinator at Gateway Health
  • Melissa Habermann-Crowe - Project Lead for Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence

Gaye Pattison will MC the evening.

Friday, November 23, 5.30pm.
Where: The Cube Wodonga.
Cost: $10 per ticket. Click here
Enquiries: contact Romina Lougoon on (02) 6022 9338 or rlougoon@wodonga.vic.gov.au