April 18, 2021

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How Australia’s March 4 Justice was heard around the world

3 min read
<p>As Brittany Higgins steps to the microphone almost a full minute passes before she utters a word. When she spoke, the world heard.</p>

As Brittany Higgins steps to the microphone almost a full minute passes before she utters a word.

"I speak to you today out of necessity," she says finally, her voice steady, calm, determined.

The former Liberal staffer spoke yesterday to a crowd of thousands gathered outside Parliament House, in Canberra, the place she claims she was raped by a male colleague in 2019.

READ MORE: Organisers reject 'behind closed doors' meeting with Prime Minister

The enormity of the moment was not lost.

Her speech was beamed across the nation, with her message, and many others, heard loudly around the world.

The BBC was among international media to report on the gathering, which started as a single tweet, and saw thousands of people flood city streets across Australia to take a stand against gendered violence in the Women's March 4 Justice rally.

"Many attendees carried placards and wore black in protest. In Melbourne, protesters carried a long banner listing the names of women killed in acts of gendered violence in the past decade," the BBC wrote.

In its reporting, The Washington Post shone a light on a "wave of allegations of sexual assault" in Australia, including against those in higher political office.

"They (rallies) come amid a growing global movement demanding officials do more to protect women and to hold perpetrators of harassment and assaults accountable," the Post wrote.

Time was more succinct in its coverage.

"Furious women across Australia are now opening up with their own experiences of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse," it wrote.

"And it's begun conversations about inherent discrimination and mistreatment of women—both within the halls of Australian government, and across the wider society."

Meanwhile, The New York Times noted as Australia's next federal election must be held by May 2022, the marches should "sound a warning for the governing Liberal Party".

"With the next national election potentially coming as early as August, experts say it is something that the conservative government, which has come under stinging criticism for the way it has handled the accusations, ignores at its own peril," the Times wrote.

During Ms Higgins' speech, she declared the "system is broken".

"We are all here today not because we want to be here, because we have to be here. We fundamentally recognise the system is broken, the glass ceiling is still in place, and there are significant failings in the power structures within our institution," she said.

The Women's March 4 Justice movement is calling for a change in Federal Parliament, demanding politicians shine a light on allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. (Photo by Jamila Toderas/Getty Images)

"We are here because it is unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight.

"It's time our leaders on both sides of politics stop avoiding the public and side-stepping accountability. It's time we actually address the problem."

The Women's March 4 Justice movement, which has more than 40 rallies registered across the country, is calling for change in Federal Parliament, demanding all politicians address and "put an end to the issues of sexism, misogyny, dangerous workplace cultures and lack of equality in politics and the community at large".

The movement began 18 days ago when Melbourne academic Janine Hendry tweeted an idea to form a ring of people around Parliament House.

The protests could be the "biggest uprising of women that Australia's seen" as thousands demand government reform.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/march4justice-how-australias-march-4-justice-was-heard-around-the-world/efaf1927-7f2f-4fb5-8eed-68108bfa3f38

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