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ACT women’s plan fails pregnant women

The new ACT Women’s Plan is a disappointing document because it misses an important opportunity to address many of the difficulties women with pregnancies face in Canberra, said Mary Joseph, president of the ACT Right to Life Association. Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher MLA, launched the Plan yesterday.

“Pregnancy is only mentioned once in the entire document – as a negative factor risking women’s education and training”, Ms Joseph said. “Yet being pregnant is a natural part of life for women. Women should have the opportunity to participate fully in social and economic life, whether they are pregnant or not. It is the Government’s job to assist this.

“The Plan recognises that pregnancy can make continuing education difficult, but doesn’t regard pregnancy as something that can be accommodated and shows little understanding of the factors behind teenage pregnancy.

“These factors include low self esteem, poor school performance, dropping out of school, low socio-economic status and early sexual activity. The Government has the opportunity to address each of these factors to help students facing difficulties.

“The Women’s Plan also fails to specifically address the important issue of pregnant women facing discrimination in employment. This was the subject of a major report by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1999 and requires ongoing work.

“The Plan is a wish list of goals for the Government, with little detail on how the goals will be achieved. Canberra’s women deserve better.”

Issued:    08 September 2004
Contact:  Mary Joseph, president of the ACT Right to Life Association Inc,
telephone 02 6253 3100.