Australians condemn violence against women as they celebrate International Women's Day

March 8, 2021 4:00 AM EST

People participate in a rally for International Women's Day in Sydney, Australia, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Hundreds of mostly female workers gathered outside government buildings in Sydney to condemn violence against women and call for greater gender equality in workplaces, amid growing scrutiny over the treatment of women in Australian politics.

Celebrating International Women's Day, a young woman stood outside the New South Wales state parliament, with the message "My body, my business" written across her body, while another held a placard reading "Equal work deserves equal pay!".

A variety of workers - from nurses and teachers to hairdressers and transport workers - took part in the gathering. It comes as the government launched a A$19 million ($14.57 million) campaign urging people to speak up when they witness disrespect against women.

"Let us all work together ... so that we finally move to a world where sexual violence and sexual assault and sexual harassment is a thing of the past," Jenny Leong, a parliamentary representative from the Greens party told the crowd.

Australia's parliament is under increased scrutiny over sexual assault allegations.

Three female employees of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal party last month said they had been raped by the same man in 2019 and 2020. One of the alleged victims has lodged a complaint with police.

Last week, Attorney-General Christian Porter, the country's chief law officer, identified himself as the subject of a separate historical rape allegation, declared his innocence and strongly denied the claim.

($1 = 1.3045 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)



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