A group photo with the Ambassador for Women and Girls with male and female staff from Marie Stopes Timor Leste and the Ministry of Health at the Community Health Clinic, Aileu Health Facility in Timor Leste.

stone_sharman_thumbBy the Hon Dr Sharman Stone, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls

First published by UN Women.

We all have the power to be agents of change, and we can all play a significant role in achieving gender equality.

Through alliances, collaboration and partnership, the impact of individual efforts can be multiplied to be much more powerful.

This year marks my third International Women’s Day as Ambassador for Women and Girls. I have travelled extensively in our region in the last two and a half years, visiting Australian supported programs in some of the most remote places including in Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Pacific.

Group photo with the Ambassador for Women and Girls and partners from Timor Leste who are working together to reduce family and domestic violence.

Ambassador Sharman Stone meeting with partners from Timor Leste who are working together to reduce family and domestic violence.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, More Powerful Together, is a great theme. It reminds us that it takes a community working together to make individual actions more effective in challenging traditional gender stereotypes and other road blocks perpetuating gender inequality.

Achieving this will require the efforts of all. As I move across countries in my role, one theme that continues to resonate is the critical need to also engage men and boys in our efforts to progress gender equality.

Women and men must unite to challenge traditional gender stereotypes, such as parenting and financially supporting the family. Gender equality is a win-win outcome for women and men.

For example, when men and women share the burden of unpaid carer responsibilities, women can also engage in the formal economy, not only helping to make the family more financially secure but also contributing to the national economy.

I will continue to advocate on behalf of women and girls everywhere, reminding my peers now is the time to unite for collective action. We are more powerful together and we cannot be successful without partnering with the other half of the population, our men and boys, as equal actors.

To connect with Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, follow @AusAWG on Twitter.  See how Australian missions overseas are celebrating #IWD2019 by following our official social media accounts

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