Sex discrimination commissioner urges prominent men to join action against domestic violence

Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, speaks at a press coference in Sydney on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner says high-powered businessmen should use their power and influence to reduce rates of domestic violence against women.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick says high-powered men should get involved in the issue of domestic violence and use their positions to affect change for women.

Ms Broderick said one woman is murdered every week in Australia by a current or former partner.

She cited World Bank showing that globally almost one billion women are either currently living in a relationship where they experience domestic violence or have recently done so.

Ms Broderick added she personally called 25 male business leaders in Australia who are part of a broader campaign to increase the participation of women in leadership roles known as the Male Champions of Change.

In the phone calls she discussed the role that business leaders can play in helping to combat domestic violence.

"If we are to deliver equality for women we have to focus on men. I now also understand that to move men from interest to action, we need to make the case for change personal - we must engage both their head and their heart," she said.

Targeting the leaders of companies, like Mantas, the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and Woolworths as well as international organisations like IBM, Ms. Broderick said employers have a role to player in supporting women who are experiencing domestic violence.

"I made a personal plea. Will you use your power and influence, your collective voice and wisdom to create change for women?"

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner said women who may be having problems at home, often find it difficult staying in paid work.

Some men, Ms Broderick said, intentionally try and sabotage their partners’ jobs, by doing things like hiding car keys or work clothes or calling their partners continuously at work.

These women can often come across as problem employees, too ashamed or scared to admit what they were really going through.

Ms Broderick also facilitated meetings with survivors of domestic violence and corporate leaders to try and illustrate just how debilitating the impact of domestic violence could be.

"The men started to understand at a profoundly human level, what it was like for these women and what they needed to do as leaders to step up and put in place good strategies to ensure that women instead of having to leave the workforce, which really gives them limited options to leave an abusive relationship, to ensure that they could stay in paid work."

November 25 is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Source World News Australia

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch