• 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.

  • 09 Mar 2020 1:26 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    BPW Adelaide has launched a campaign calling on the Premier of South Australia to request the Governor to add the Observance of International Women’s Day to the current March public holiday.  The world celebrates the contribution of women by marking International Women’s Day on 8 March each year.  About that time in SA there is a public holiday for a horse race.  BPW Adelaide advocates for recognising the contribution of women to SA by including them officially on this public holiday. 

    International Women's Day is an official holiday in 26 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.  Why not Australia?

    Women are 50% of the population and South Australia was the first state in the world to legislate for women to stand for Parliament, and the second (after New Zealand) to permit women to vote. Let's lead the way again. 

    #IWDPublicHoliday #ProclaimBoth #LeadTheWayAgain

  • 08 Mar 2020 3:10 PM | Angela Tomazos (Administrator)

    BPW Empowering Women – See what women can be

    BPW Australia (the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women) is marking International Women’s Day 2020 with a social media campaign to highlight positive role modelling to counter the “you cannot become what you cannot see” narrative. With a collective voice of over 25,000 members in Australia and Internationally, BPW members are looking to the future for women and girls.

    “When we say ‘you cannot become what you cannot see’, are we suggesting today’s women & girls are somehow less imaginative, less innovative, less daring than previous generations. Are we discounting all those women who have indeed been what they have not seen?” Jacqueline Graham , BPW Australia President said.

    “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. These were the great words of Helen Clark, previous Administrator of the UN Development Program and 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand

    In the past 150 years, we have had women elected to Parliaments , as Prime Ministers and as Heads of State. We have women in armed forces , in space, scientists & explorers. We have leaders in education, in mining, banking and healthcare. We have women role models in start-ups , family businesses and multinational organisations.

    “The narrative has become that (unless there has been a forerunner), women and girls are unable to imagine or engage in a career path. Our members are concerned that we are currently experiencing a fall-back from the gains of the past . Our members regularly hear that today’s girls “can’t be what they can’t see”. BPW understands that this belief is detrimental to the career choices offered to girls from year 10 and upwards” Jacqueline said.

    BPW Australia members include women who are employers and employees ,from STEM, business ,trade and professional services. Our members share a common responsibility to provide visibility of all fields to next generation and to inspire them to take any career path they can imagine.

    BPW Australia invites all women’s organisations to use this campaign to highlight the work and achievements of women. We have created social media hash tags #SeeWhatWomenCanBe and #BPWEmpoweringWomen

    “Let’s be clear: of course we can be what we can’t see. But if there is a role model, why shouldn’t we be able to see her. How much easier would it be to follow the path, if we could find the women holding the sign post” Jacqueline said

    BPW Australia campaign will include inspirational profiles from women breaking the glass ceiling in all business fields, including from the history of BPW Clubs in Australia. An early post highlights Peta Searle. Peta is the only female senior coach in the AFLW this year, up by one from previous year. Join the #SeeWhatWomenCanBe movement , follow us on Facebook @BPWAustralia and Twitter @BPWAust

  • 01 Mar 2020 5:54 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    2019 was extraordinary. It was devastating, frightening and overwhelming. But it has been something else too: hopeful. 2019 was absolutely the year of the girl.

    We saw extraordinary girls and young women everywhere rising up and taking charge. Greta urged world leaders take urgent action on climate change. Malala is inspiring girls everywhere that an educated girl can make a difference.  For every Greta and every Malala, there are hundreds of brave girl activists in the developing world doing extraordinary work every day to combat child marriage, child trafficking, teen pregnancy, harassment and violence. We see these girls. We support them. We applaud them.

    Plan International Australia developed a questionnaire for girls and young women between 12 and 25 about girls’ empowerment, leadership and role models. And they found girls have a plan.  Read this inspiring report.

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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