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  • 24 Feb 2024 12:43 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Are you a member of a Board? Or a company director? Are you aware of recent legislative reform about measuring the gender pay gap?

    Boards have a key role in to play in accelerating gender equality progress in the workplace.  Under the legislative changes, employers who report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency must share their WGEA Executive Summary and Industry Benchmark Report with their Board or governing body as soon as is practicable.

    To support directors in playing their role in accelerating change in workplace gender equality, WGEA have produced a Director’s Guide to Accelerating Workplace Gender Equality that provides context, practical insights, and questions for boards and directors.

  • 17 Feb 2024 2:06 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The ABS has compiled time-use data since 1992 to record what Australian women and men do with their time, including multitasking.  This data has told the story of women's unpaid household work compared to men. The Time-Use Survey ceased in 2013 under PM Tony Abbott then was revived in 2020 after lobbying by women's organisations.

    Now the ABS wants to reduce its scope, removing multitasking, but conduct it annually.  This will impact it’s effectiveness. In 1997 the survey found that whereas the average time spent on childcare as a main activity was about 2 hours per day, the average when simultaneous activities such as preparing meals and washing clothes were taken into account was closer to 7 hours per day. Survey participants will have to pick one activity, when they are doing 2 or 3 things at once, which will make much of women's unpaid work invisible.  We would no longer have data on the total amount of childcare and other domestic activities we are doing, and our surveys will also no longer be directly comparable to those of other countries. We need to lobby again to retain multitasking data.

    The ABS 2023 report on Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation reports that the most common reason women were unavailable to start a job or work more hours was 'Caring for children', while for men it was 'Long-term health condition or disability'.  The most important incentive for women to take on paid work was the "Ability to work part-time hours" with 51% of women rating this as "very important."

    The ABS data shows nearly 28% of women with children under 15 who want paid work cited a lack of access to early childhood education and care as a barrier to employment, due to spots being booked out or inaccessible to them geographically. This is evidence of the “motherhood penalty“, the idea that becoming a mum in Australia comes with a high price for women. Last year, Treasury analysis found that women’s earnings fall by an average of 55% in the first 5 years of parenthood, while men’s earnings are generally unaffected when they enter parenthood.

    As Georgie Dent, CEO of The Parenthood asserts: In modern Australia it takes two incomes for most families to cover a mortgage or the rent, but it takes affordable early childhood education and outside school hours and care to earn two incomes.

  • 08 Feb 2024 10:53 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Many BPW members use childcare, and some members work in the sector. Two major reports have called for governments to directly intervene in the childcare market to ensure all families can access the services they need.

    Australian parents pay twice the OECD average in childcare fees.  An Australian family on average wages with two kids spends 16% of their total budget on childcare while the OECD average is 9%, according to the ACCC. They recommend changing the hourly rate cap to a daily rate cap and removing or reconfiguring the activity test.

    The Productivity Commission urges governments to improve availability, affordability, inclusivity and flexibility of childcare services

    It’s interim report recommends all children under five should have access to three days a week of “high quality” early education and raising the maximum rate of the Child Care Subsidy to 100% of the hourly cap for about 30% of families with the lowest incomes.  It also acknowledges workforce challenges including pay rates and retention of childcare workers

    The Productivity Commission is calling for submissions on it’s interim report by 14 February. 

  • 29 Jan 2024 5:25 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Hourly earnings were highest for managers in 2023, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  Men continued to earn more per hour than women in all eight major occupation groups. There is a 19% gender gap in hourly earnings in managerial positions, dropping to 7% for those working in sales.

    Managers had the highest average hourly earnings ($67.20) followed by Professionals ($60.60). Sales workers and Labourers had the lowest of all occupations ($30.90 and $32.20) compared to an overall hourly average of $44.00. 

    Men were more likely to have their pay set by an individual arrangement (45%), while a collective agreement was the most common method for women (38%).

    In addition to important earnings insights, the ABS data provides key insights into the gender pay gap in Australia and how it is changing over time. Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, said: “Analysing the difference between male and female earnings is complex and there is no single measure that can provide a complete picture”. He explained that hourly earnings comparisons are useful for understanding gender pay differences beyond weekly earnings measures, given women are more likely to work part-time than men. On average, hourly earnings were $46 for men, compared to $42 for women, a difference of 8.9% in May 2023 compared to 9.7% in May 2021.

  • 15 Jan 2024 1:05 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Following the Resolutions passed at National Conference, BPW Australia has developed a Policy Statement on Housing and Homelessness. These issues also link back to previous resolutions aimed at supporting women in vulnerable situations.

    The Statement can be found here: BPWA Policy Statement on Housing Stress.


    A printable version can be downloaded here: Media Release

  • 30 Dec 2023 12:05 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The annual Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Annual Report is prepared by the national Office for Women, and outlines performance against the Australian Government’s gender balance targets of 50% of Australian Government board positions overall and 40% of board positions at the individual board level.

    At 30 June 2023, women held 51.6% of Australian Government board positions, the highest rate on record, exceeding the target. Also 52.% of new appointments to Australian Government boards in 2022-2023 were women.

    The 2022-2023 Report is the first one to report on the representation of women at the individual board level. The data collected throughout the 2022-2023 financial year showed that 78.7% of boards have women represented in at least 40% of positions, which was the target prior to 2016.

  • 09 Dec 2023 5:04 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The SMH reports  about one in four Australians are part-timers, but only 7% of them are in management positions, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Chief executive Mary Wooldridge said hundreds of thousands of part-time employees faced a sudden decline in the availability of senior positions that could advance or sustain their careers.  This 'promotion cliff' mostly affected women, with the survey showing 30% of women worked part-time, compared with 11% of men. Mary Wooldridge said a lack of flexible work arrangements hindered women’s earning capacity and contributed to Australia’s pay gap.

    Non-executive director Rob Prugue wrote on LinkedIn that as a former employer, he used to hire parents as managers. "While the minimum we required was a three-day work week, these parents often worked more than this as their desire to prove to all employers that it was possible outweighed the professional demands the work placed on them," he said. "It was then that the obvious became so visible; the challenge isn’t getting the work done in a limited time, but in employers believing it cannot be done."

    Chief financial officer Karyn Ferguson, who has worked part time for over 10 years, said it was still possible to achieve your goals while working part-time.  "It takes perseverance, resilience and lots of family support. Most of all, you need the support of amazing managers and leaders in your company that provide you with opportunities to progress and believe in you.”

  • 03 Dec 2023 9:26 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Productivity Commission has called for simpler childcare subsidies, changes to the activity test and increased access to early childhood education for children from all backgrounds. Their latest report recommends altering the childcare subsidy to allow all families to access up to three days of subsidised care a week, regardless of how many hours they work; and for families with an annual income of $80,000 or less to become eligible for a 100% subsidy, up from the current 90%.

    The Commission called on government to monitor variations in fees and investigate costs and profits across the sector every three years.  Australian families pay up to twice OECD average childcare fees.

    They also recommended measures to expand the workforce and a national early childhood education and care commission. To address the childcare worker shortage, they recommended removing barriers to educators improving their skills, giving incentives to universities who trial new approaches to teacher education and better mentoring.

    The report is out for consultation [deadline 14 February 2024] with a final report to the government due in June 2024.

  • 27 Nov 2023 8:29 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Resolutions Report from the 2023 National Conference is accessible on the member resources page of the BPW Australia website under Club Documents. All of the resolutions were passed at Conference, but several were amended first.

    Club Conference delegates are encouraged to report back to their clubs on the resolutions and review those that are highlighted for local implementation.  The BPW Australia Board will discuss the implementation and advise clubs through their State Representatives how they can contribute to our advocacy.

  • 15 Nov 2023 5:22 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Joining a board is a significant commitment, and asking the right questions can provide valuable insights into the responsibilities, culture, and expectations associated with the role. Women on Boards has set out 10 questions to consider asking before joining a board.

    Some are questions about the organisation or business, the Board itself, or the environment in  which it operates. The final key question is about you and requires some introspective reflection.

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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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