The trolls are out there. Even the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has been targeted online with negative commentary and poor behaviour. Regrettably, in the last few months the WGEA has experienced a campaign of online bullying by those who believe gender inequality is merely the result of women making bad choices rather than having fair opportunities being denied to them. To help us all to counter the trolls, the WGEA has developed a fact page with key information and statistics about women and work that we can link to our Facebook pages.
Women on Boards has called for Australian governments and businesses to urgently prioritise closing both the gender-pay and gender-investment gaps to achieve #balanceforbetter. Claire Braund, founder and director of Women on Boards, said that with the Federal election on the horizon, it was critical that governments came to grips with the notion of ‘financial gender balance’ if our economy and society were to prosper.
She said the 40:40:20 metric WOB had long-been advocating – 40% men and 40% women with 20% of either and/or other genders in the boardroom, in political and business leadership, at management level and within the community – was even more relevant to address the ‘financial gender imbalance’ in Australia. “It has been proven over and again that gender balanced leadership leads to better decisions and more equitable outcomes for everyone,” Ms Braund said. “So let’s consider the economic implications of having a minimum of 40% of our aggregate national payroll going to women, 40% of small business grant funding going to female led businesses, 40% of venture capital being awarded to female founded start-ups….the list goes on. At the top level it’s about enshrining the 40% principal – one which sees at least 40% of the financial assets in this nation being owned or controlled by women – if we are to avoid the perfect of storm of more women living longer, retiring on less and relying on tax payer funded welfare.”
The major parties have made their election platforms accessible:
Liberal Party: Delivering Our Plan
March 2019 Policy slide show at https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan
Scroll down to Issue 15 on women: https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/women
Australian Labor Party National Platform: a fair go for Australia
February 2019 Full policy document at https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2019/02/apo-nid219056-1330891.pdf
The ALP’s National Platform provides a comprehensive statement of their beliefs, values and program for government, including 204 references to women.
The subsection on Ensuring women’s equal place in a stronger democracy at Chapter 10 page 211 includes a commitment to support women’s representative organisations to participate in policy development. There is a set of Resolutions to the National Platform starting at page 243 that includes addressing gender superannuation inequality and reducing barriers to reproductive and sexual healthcare [abortion reform].
How well does our Parliament represent us? Public faith in our democratic institutions can be undermined by the sense that powerful interests have more traction than the public interest. The stereotype of MPs as wealthy, white, men with law degrees or union backgrounds carries with it the implication that the outcomes of parliamentary business benefit those with the same background. But is there truth to the stereotype?
In this Per Capita research paper Abigail Lewis asks whether there is an established ‘way in’ to Parliament, whether MPs overwhelmingly come from the same demographic backgrounds, schools, and career paths, and whether this might have implications for policy. It tracks how representative Parliament was in 1988 and how representative it became over the next thirty years, and asks whether Parliament has become more representative in response to advocacy for quotas and other redistributions of power and influence.
You can subscribe to the BPW International Newsletter through the BPWI website. The latest newsletter can be accessed online as a magazine. Links are also posted under the BPWI page on this BPWA website.
BPW Australia Director of Policy Angela has provided all Club Presidents with Policy Position Statements for the first three Resolutions from the 2018 National Conference. These form the basis for our pre-election lobbying and further position statements for other resolutions passed are being developed.
Correspondence is being sent directly to Ministers , Partners and Media. Clubs are encouraged to discuss their approach local federal MPs. Angela has provided Club Presidents with a Guide prepared some time ago by past Director of Policy Jean Murray which provides helpful tips on best ways to lobby effectively. The BPWA Policy Position Statements and guide to lobbying can be accessed here:
School holidays offer children a break from the routine and demands of school and allow families to spend time together doing things they enjoy. However, 4 weeks of annual leave doesn’t match 12 weeks of school holidays so for working parents the summer school break can be challenging, stressful and expensive.
Professors Candice Harris and Jarrod Haar of Auckland University of Technology have researched how parents manage the school holiday juggle. Many parents piece together a jigsaw of childcare, combining formal and informal care, but there is little data about these private arrangements. Workplace childcare for school aged children is rare, especially in the private sector, so parents often rely on grandparents and community programs or leave older children home alone. The authors suggest workplaces could offer working parents enhanced flexibility during the school holiday weeks, build holiday childcare or programme subsidies into remuneration options, provide workplace school holiday programmes for employees’ children, or enable staff to work remotely or part-time during holiday weeks.
Speaking at the ALP annual conference, Shadow Minister for Women Tanya Plibersek promised to make equal pay a priority. If elected in 2019, Labor will appoint a Fair Work Commission president who will head a pay equity panel, which will review and make decisions on pay disputes guided by a new equal remuneration principle. Plibersek acknowledged that substantial pay gaps exist across female-dominated industries and announced measures to fairly compensate workers in industries such as early-childcare and nursing will be a priority. She reported that women working in feminised industries such as healthcare, social assistance and education earn $30,000 less than the average man working in male-dominated industries such as mining and construction. Plibersek emphasised that a structural overhaul would ensure low paid workers — too often exploited– would be supported in their pursuits of more equal work conditions and pay.
This month, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to combat sexual violence as a weapon of war, taking the number of women to receive the prestigious accolade to 17 out of 106. Both laureates have campaigned bravely and extensively to end impunity for conflict related sexual violence which is key to the women, peace and security agenda. The Nobel Committee noted that sexual violence can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and impede the restoration of international peace and security.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee explained that “a more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war”’. The Committee made it clear that by awarding this prize to people from two different countries they were showing that conflict related sexual violence is a worldwide problem.
The Employing Older Workers report, overseen by the Australian Human Rights Commission, found that age discrimination is occurring at an alarming rate in Australia. Research revealed 32% of Australian employers continue to specify an age limit for job applicants, despite this being illegal. Moreover, 30% of those employers will not employ people over 50, despite two thirds acknowledging that this protocol has lost the business valuable skills and intellectual property. Note: the data in the report is not gendered.
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