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  • 31 May 2020 10:39 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    ABC journalist Annabel Crabb opines that Coronavirus has left Australian women anxious, overworked, insecure — and worse off than men again. Women right now are more likely to lose work that is paid and also more likely to pick up work that is unpaid.

    Professor Lyn Craig’s research into the gendered division of labour in the home during the COVID-19 lockdown indicates that, for households with children, social isolation and school closures have added 6 hours a day of care work, of which women are taking on 4 hours.

    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is monitoring the impacts of covid19 on women in Australia. They are finding that COVID-19 may have greater economic, health and safety impacts on women: women at home are at greater risk of violence; a predominantly female healthcare workforce has placed women on the frontlines of the crisis; and the increase in caring responsibilities is likely to be shouldered by women.

    But a potential positive outcome: workplace flexibility may change ongoing workplace policies and practices; while working from home, under-employment and unemployment might see men taking on more care and domestic work at home.

  • 24 May 2020 9:51 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Hosting a virtual meeting is a different skillset to hosting an in-person meeting. If you are chairing your first virtual meeting, or if you want to polish up your skills, here are the YWCA’s guidelines for bringing the values of compassion, respect and collaboration to chairing a meeting.  They include 20 tips for what to do before, during and after the meeting.

    Don't simply adopt it; adapt it and share it with the chair of your next meeting, whether male or female, as simply A Guide to Chairing an Effective Virtual Meeting. 

  • 17 May 2020 9:40 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The 50/50 Foundation hosted a virtual COVID Gender Network roundtable in which we heard what a number of women’s advocacy groups, academics and rights organisations are doing in response to the pandemic. The discussion focused specifically on tracking unpaid work and care – a critical issue that has become the focus of the Foundation’s current research. 

    Following the roundtable, BroadAgenda recorded an interview with one of the participants, Liz Broderick, past Sex Discrimination Commissioner and now Deputy Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls at the UN Human Rights Council.  The Working Group has released a statement calling on all governments, ours included, to better protect women and girls in COVID policy responses. 

    Unfailingly generous with her time, Liz discusses how a global “reimagining is required” and indeed possible. “It’s an opportunity to put care at the centre of societies, the economy, our wellbeing and then see what will shift.” She also explains the UN’s fear that home isolation is placing 980 million women in danger, given that “for nearly 1 billion women we know that home is not a safe place.”

  • 09 May 2020 9:51 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Professor Lyn Craig at the University of Melbourne explains how it has laid bare how little we normally pay for “women’s work”. Australia’s gender equality ranks 49th on remuneration on the World Economic Forum Gender Participation and Opportunity Index 2020 that measures workforce participation, remuneration and advancement.

    In April eS4W’s partner organisation, Financy, released their Women’s Index for the March Quarter 2020 – looking at the impact of COVID-19 on women’s financial progress. The Index rose by 0.4% with the pace of progress the weakest since September 2018. A slowdown in full-time employment growth among women and rising female unemployment relative to male reflects the early impact of COVID-19 shutdowns and containment measures. The Index shows women are 32 years from achieving economic equality with men, but this could expand due to the long-term impact of COVID-19.  Australian women are bearing the brunt of the job cuts.

    Joanna Masters, Chief Economist Ernst & Young Oceania, advises, “For women, the risk is that some of the recent economic progress slides backwards. This is not because we care less about gender equality but reflects economic consequences and perhaps diverted focus.”

  • 03 May 2020 4:10 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    With many regular workplaces shut down to 'flatten the curve' of COVID-19, millions of Australians are now shifting their work to home and there are a range of resources to help them adapt and cope. 

    BPW QuickBites held a webinar on Working from Home and Working Online that can be accessed online.

    Toni Courtney has produced a quick reference guide for virtual meetings that will be useful for BPW clubs running zoom meetings.

    And the Centre for Future Work has released a briefing paper that surveys the scope of home work, considers its impacts on economic and gender inequality, and proposes several policy recommendations to make working from home safer and fairer.  They found that women are more likely to be able to work from home than men, due to women’s over-representation in the professional and administrative occupations (who can work from home), compared to men’s over-representation among labourers, drivers and trades (who can’t).

    Not all jobs that can be done from home are well-compensated. Some call centre and routine clerical jobs have been organised around home work for years. Employers have used these arrangements to facilitate low-wage work by workers (mostly women) who appreciate the flexibility of working from home for balancing work and family responsibilities -  to save costs for office set-up and equipment.

    One silver lining from this crisis is that it may spark a re-examination of the longstanding discrimination experienced by women workers with caring responsibilities.
  • 13 Apr 2020 5:00 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Past president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Trigg, writes in The Conversation about her experiences of being a grandmother and the impact of education, employment and leadership on her and her cohort of feisty 1970s feminists.  It is an extract from an anthology of essays by an impressive selection of 24 21st Century grandmothers.

    We know about those 1970s feminists – many were and still are BPW members.  They may be grandmothers, but they are still social activists, seeking to make a difference for their daughters and granddaughters and all their peers. They fought for pay equity, and the laws were changed, but we are still fighting to make it real today.   Their work is not finished.

    Many of this generation of grandmothers from the 50s, 60s and 70s spent their formative years at university with free or minimal fees, marching against Vietnam, experimenting with sexual liberation, burning their bras and “making love not war”. They were experienced political activists, capable advocates for women's human rights, and generous mentors to the generations who followed and built upon the foundation they worked hard to create. And many still are.

  • 06 Apr 2020 8:15 PM | Angela Tomazos (Administrator)

    BPW Australia (the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women) has joined the organisations committed to gender equity and women to call on Federal and State Governments to ensure COVID 19 actions include a gender lens on pandemic response and recovery.

    As UN Women have highlighted, ‘during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, women make essential contributions as leaders and frontline responders. But they are also hit harder by the health, economic and social impacts of the outbreak. Paying attention to women’s needs and leadership will strengthen the COVID19 response.’

    “Working women are at the forefront of the COVID19 crisis, with a significant majority of medical, retail and hospitality workers being women. Women are also disproportionally impacted by additional caring and unpaid labour caused by work from home provisions. History shows us that world crises such as this can have the effect of stepping back inclusive policies. Australia has an opportunity to ensure that we come out of this crisis prepared to utilise the talents of 100% of our labour force, if we put a gender lens on our planning.”  Jacqueline Graham, BPW Australia President, said.

    BPW Australia commends the work Gender Equity Victoria (GENVIC) has highlighted and ten things Governments should do now to address the impacts of COVID 19 on women and gender diverse people.  Gender Equity Victoria issued a media release and held online press conference on April 2nd with joint statement from over 50 organisations.

    “Whilst the GENVIC joint statement is Victoria specific, BPWA supports and encourages all States and Territories and the Federal Government to consider these 10 points, and build an inclusive Australia to help us all recover faster.” Jacqueline said

    To find out more of GENVIC joint statement and endorse go to www.genvic.org.au/media-releases/gender-equity-womens-organisations-unite-on-covid19-disaster , show your support on social media or reach out to their office genvic@genvic.org.au


  • 05 Apr 2020 1:58 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Researchers from the Institute for Sustainable Futures at Sydney’s University of Technology have analysed promising initiatives by governments and companies to improve gender diversity. Their report examines innovative policies to recruit and retain talent across genders, noting that gender diversity is a significant issue of risk management for boards and companies.

    The researchers articulate a clear case for gender balancing initiatives at economy, company and individual levels which improve gender balance in employment and ensure economic incentives for mothers to work. They conclude the commitment to increase participation of women in employment is almost universal, but what is lacking is granular evidence of the application of successful initiatives that achieve this. The report presents care studies linked to positive outcomes for both staff well-being and company benefits, demonstrating real traction in resolving this issue.

  • 26 Mar 2020 2:56 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Australian gynaecologist and humanitarian Dr Catherine Hamlin has died at age 96 in her home of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1958, Catherine and her husband, also trained in obstetrics and gynaecology, flew to Ethiopia with a plan to spend a few years working there in a government hospital. What had been intended as a three-year stay in Addis Ababa turned in to a lifetime of service to Ethiopia and the establishment of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a network of clinics dedicated to giving free surgery to the women who need it, ensuring the health and dignity of 60,000 mothers by treating and preventing terrible childbirth injuries.

    Catherine was always grateful to those who supported her dream of eradicating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia. You can read the full obituary and leave a tribute message for Catherine at the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.

    Obstetric fistula is a common complication of pregnancy in many African countries, particularly in young women and girls. BPW International members worldwide have supported the work of BPW Burkina Faso and the founder President of BPW Ouagadougou, Rasmata Kabré, in establishing care for women who have experienced obstetric fistula.

  • 15 Mar 2020 11:46 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Women on Boards Chair Ruth Medd offer some sage advice for those looking to become a board member, and it’s not to choose a non-profit organisation as your first board.

    WOB has conducted a National Board Recruitment and Appointment Survey which revealed some problems with poorly performing NFP boards.  Ruth advises: if you want to be a governing rather than a working director, choose an organisation that has staff, money in the bank and a business model. Your first board should be one that is professional and well governed, and is focused on strategy and governance.  She offers helpful tips to suss out the right board for you.

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BPW Australia Newsletter Archive

Past editions of BPW Australia's electronic newsletters can be viewed as a PDF - see below.

Current editions of the quarterly e-magazine Madesin can be accessed here.


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