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  • 12 Oct 2019 4:25 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Essays on Equality is a new publication from the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership. Written by GIWL researchers, members of the Advisory Council and leading researchers and campaigners, this essay collection provides research-informed reflections on the fight for women’s equality.  Although it tends to be UK-centric, they offer practical solutions to help create a fairer, more equal world.

    The foreword by Julia Gillard, CEO of the GIWL, is followed by short opinion pieces by expert writers including

    ·         Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, who reminds us that we all gain from gender equality, so it is everyone’s responsibility.

    ·         Senior Research Fellow Dr Rose Cook who questions whether the huge growth in diversity and inclusion activities, and the millions invested in them, is actually making a difference.

    ·         Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explains that by mistaking confidence and charisma for competence, we end up with poorer leaders and fewer women at the top.

    ·         Research Associate Emma Kinloch who tackles the thorny issue of Brexit, critiquing the ways in which women have been excluded or undermined during the UK’s negotiations for a deal with the EU.

    ·         Professor Iris Bohnet, Academic Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School, and colleagues on what venture capitalists could learn from orchestra directors who have combatted gender bias through blind recruitment processes.

    ·         Research Associate Laura Jones who argues more fundamental structural and cultural changes are needed to make workplaces fairer.

    ·         Diva Dhar from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who examines the gap in unpaid care work, which she argues must be better analysed and researched.

    ·         Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, who argues expanding gender pay gap reporting, equalising parental leave and mandating flexible working could drive real progress in improving women’s working lives.

  • 08 Oct 2019 9:09 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    In Australia, many parents with young children rely on childcare to enable them to fulfil their working commitments. While parents may rely on a particular type of childcare, it cannot be assumed that it represents their preferred option. This is just one of many areas where women's compromises are misinterpreted as women's choices.

    Researchers at the Centre for Independent Studies report that 2/3 of working mothers said they would like the option of using subsidies they receive for formal childcare to instead help subsidise informal childcare – even if it meant receiving a lower subsidy overall.   Mothers identified their most important priorities in selecting childcare as warmth of care-giving, location and cost/affordability.  

    The research highlights a misalignment of priorities for childcare between governments and parents. Mothers tend to prioritise the wellbeing of their children, as indicated by nominating ‘warmth of care-giving’ as their most important priority. The other top priorities relate to practical considerations of cost and location rather than the regulated ‘quality’ aspects of childcare, as indicated by staff credentials and early learning.

  • 29 Sep 2019 10:17 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Experienced Board member Nicole Donegan, CEO of Women on Boards, has learned that a great CV doesn’t always translate to a great interview for a Board role. She advises that your CV may get your foot in the interview door, but the clincher to your success will be your ability to interview well for the position.

    Her top preparation tips before an interview include: reviewing the requirements in the ad and researching the organisational strategies and directions; being thoroughly prepared to promote your relevant skills and provide examples to demonstrate these; keeping your responses to questions at strategic board level, not operational level; and relating your responses to how you will add value to the organisation rather than your own professional development.

    Most of all remember it’s a board interview, not a job interview, so you need to do your homework and be prepared.
  • 25 Sep 2019 11:18 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Until 1994, no Australian woman was allowed to list their legal status as "farmer". Instead, women on the land were officially defined as unproductive "silent partners", "domestics", "helpmates", or even "farmers' wives". That was only 25 years ago.

    This impacted on the tax paid by farming families.  I recall a family on the Eyre Peninsula where he was the local chemist and she was a farmer, but the tax department attributed her farm income to her husband because a woman couldn’t be recognised as a farmer. 

    BPW Australia had many rural clubs at the time, so we lobbied the federal government to recognise that women who owned or managed farms must be recognised as farmers for all government purposes.  This change was achieved, but women farmers remain invisible.

    To address this, the Australian Research Council has funded a 3 year study called Invisible Farmer which involves a nation-wide partnership between rural communities, academics, government and cultural organisations. The project aims to create new histories of rural Australia, reveal the hidden stories of women on the land, recognise the diverse, innovative and vital role of women in agriculture and stimulate public discussions about contemporary issues facing rural Australia and its future.


  • 15 Sep 2019 9:32 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Journalist and author Annabel Crabb’s new Quarterly Essay titled “Men At Work: Australia’s Parenthood Trap”, she highlights the contrasting reactions to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison both juggling their roles as parents.  She questions the way male leaders are treated compared to their female counterparts, asking: why do we accept that fathers will be absent? Why are female leaders being asked how they juggle their roles when key male figures with small children are never asked about it?

    In her earlier book [The Wife Drought: Why Women Need Wives and Men Need Lives], Annabel observed that feminism had fundamentally changed the way women conduct their lives. But for men, nothing had changed. They still operated in precisely the same manner: marrying, having children and trotting off to work according to the 9-to-5 demands of business and for the most part enjoying better pay and conditions than their wives or female colleagues. She argued men would benefit enormously from spending more time with the children instead of missing out on this precious time.

    In her latest work Annabel argues gender equity cannot be achieved “until men are as free to leave the workplace (when their lives demand it) as women are to enter it”. Women have benefited from the sentiment that ‘girls can do anything,’ then surely we should ensure that ‘boys can do anything’ means everything from home to work.

  • 01 Sep 2019 10:07 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    At current rates of progress, the World Economic Forum predicts it may take another 202 years to close the economic gender gap globally. Although many countries are well-placed to maximize women’s economic potential, they are failing to reap the returns from their investment in female education. In addition, too few countries are preparing to meet the challenges and harness the gender parity opportunities posed by the changing nature of work.

    The Closing the Gender Gap report notes the need to look at gender discrimination, address pay transparency and consider targets and quotas for women in leadership positions – which correlate with BPW Australia resolutions and policies.

    The project aims to create global and national public-private collaboration platforms to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future by:

    National action: The Forum serves as an accelerator for national task forces, which successfully address current gender gaps and reshaping gender parity for the future in 12 countries. Focus is on closing gaps in labour force participation, remuneration and leadership, and preparing companies and countries for gender parity in the future of work.

    Business commitments: The project calls for quantifiable commitments from leading companies to increase workforce opportunities and accelerate gender parity in the future of work.

    Global exchange: The project has established an informal global community of practice of relevant leaders and experts for global knowledge exchange on closing the gender gap.

  • 25 Aug 2019 10:54 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    WGEA Director Libby Lyons sets the record straight: Equal pay is the right that Australian women won in 1969 to be paid the same as men for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value. Prior to this landmark decision, men had the right to be paid 25% more than woman. Within organisations, unequal pay is sometimes referred to as a “like-for-like” pay gap.

    The gender pay gap, on the other hand, measures the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce at an organisation, industry or national level, which is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is caused by a range of social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime.

    When an organisation announces they have closed their gender pay gap because they are now paying women and men the same amount for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value, they have not actually closed their gender pay gap. What they have done is close their “like-for-like” pay gaps. So while that is good, these companies should not expect a pat on the back from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency or anyone else for meeting their requirements under the law.

  • 18 Aug 2019 11:28 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Equal Pay Day was 31 August in 2018 so it has moved 3 days in the right direction – this year women must work an additional 59 days from the end of the last financial year to earn the same amount as men. At this rate, who knows, we could have pay equity in just 20 years!

    Equal Pay Day is a symbolic indicator of the significance of the national gender pay gap and why it matters for Australian women. It highlights the barriers Australian women still face in having the same opportunities and rewards in our workplaces as men.

    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has calculated the national gender pay gap as 14.0% for full-time employees, a difference of $241.50 per week: a fall of 0.6%. Women’s weekly earnings on average are $1,484.80 compared to men’s weekly average earnings of $1,726.30, based on ABS data.

    Libby Lyons, Workplace Gender Equality Agency Director, said she would have liked to see a stronger fall in the gender pay gap: “What Equal Pay Day actually signifies is that every other day of the year is Unequal Pay Day for women. Australian women first won the right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value in 1969 – that’s 50 years ago!”

    [Un]Equal Pay Day is not about two people being paid differently for the same work, it is about the national gender pay gap. The gender pay gap refers to the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall positions in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.

  • 10 Aug 2019 1:01 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Results recently released by the Australian Institute of Company Directors reveal that gender diversity on the boards of Australia’s largest companies has not yet hit the 30% target. The latest AICD Gender Diversity Quarterly Report reveals that women represent 29.7% of directors on ASX 200 boards.  In 2015, the AICD called for ASX 200 companies to achieve 30% by the end of 2018, but by June 2019 this target had not been reached.

    Claire Braund, Executive Director of Women on Boards, said that the AICD is aiming too low and that the 30% target is out of step with Governments across Australia, the Australian Sports Commission, Australian superannuation industry and many other organisations who have set a minimum target of 40% and in some cases, 50% women.  Women on Boards has been advocating since 2009 for a target of at least 40% women and 40% men for boards across all sectors. 

    BPW Australia takes national action for women's equality – at work, on boards, in leadership.  We’re with WOB on this.  ASX 200 boards can – and should – do better.

  • 04 Aug 2019 12:33 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Christine Lagarde, the first female managing director of the International Monetary Fund, speaking at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City, declared: “There are only 6 countries in the world where there is no legal discrimination at all between men and women.”

    Or put another way: Of the IMF’s 189 member countries, nearly 90% have at least one gender-based legal restriction, from limitations on what women can inherit and whether they can borrow money to prohibitions on their ability to take custody of their children. Lagarde’s assessment: “We need to work on that.”

    The IMF aims to ensure the stability of the global monetary system, promote international trade and economic growth, and reduce poverty. It wields $1 trillion in lending power for its members. Lagarde sees empowering women as more than a social imperative, because it has the potential to transform the global economy. As inequality rises, the gap between men’s and women’s participation in the workforce is hovering at around 16%, even in advanced economies. She believes major economic woes could be lessened by narrowing this gap. “It’s just a no-brainer that economies would grow, productivity would improve, and we would have more stability,” she said.

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BPW Australia Newsletter Archive

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