• 31 Oct 2021 1:55 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Australian women have long been under-represented in the national parliament. Although our country was the first in the world to give women the right to stand for election [in South Australia], we currently rank 56th in the world for female representation, just behind Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Germany and Suriname. By comparison, New Zealand is 6th.

    So why, in 2021, do we have a situation where less than one-third of MPs in the House of Representatives are women?

    Researchers from Griffith University investigated whether the low numbers were due to discrimination of female candidates by voters or political parties. They found that, while Australian voters used to preference men over women at the polls, they don’t tend to anymore. Political parties, on the other hand, do.

    Parties can impede women being elected by simply not putting them forward as candidates or by preselecting them to stand for unsafe or marginal seats. So they can tick the women's box and maybe meet a quota, but they’re not making a genuine attempt to create real change.

  • 24 Oct 2021 9:59 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The United Nations Secretary-General warns humanity faces a stark and urgent choice: a breakdown or a breakthrough. His report Our Common Agenda advocates for action to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Chapter 2 explains social protection systems are critical to achieving the SDGs, and that humanity’s greatest resource is our own collective capacity, half of which has historically been constrained because of gender discrimination. No  meaningful social contract is possible without the active and equal participation of women and girls. Women’s equal leadership, economic inclusion, and gender-balanced decision-making are simply better for everyone, men and women alike.

    The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality point the way. I urge Member States and other stakeholders to consider five related and transformative measures:

    (a) the full realisation of equal rights

    (b) measures to promote gender parity, including quotas

    (c) facilitating women’s economic inclusion, including investment in the care economy and equal pay

    (d) greater inclusion of the voices of younger women and

    (e) an emergency response plan to accelerate the eradication of violence against women and girls.

  • 11 Oct 2021 5:08 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

  • 09 Oct 2021 3:07 PM | Angela Tomazos (Administrator)

    "Australia falls behind on aspects of transparency and accountability for corrective action" . One of the reasons why Australia was ranked last against 6 countries in recent global study on gender pay gap reporting. BPW Australia was one of the 80 participants across 6 countries for the study.
    Read the research here Gender Pay Gap Global Study 

  • 26 Sep 2021 9:33 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    As the world learns to live with COVID, to emerge from the current crisis, and to “build back better”, UN Women’s new “Feminist plan” provides a visionary but practical roadmap for putting gender equality, social justice and sustainability at the centre of the recovery and transformation.

    Learning from past mistakes, “Beyond COVID: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice” presents a vision to tackle intersecting jobs, care and climate crises.

    COVID has revealed and worsened inequalities and is a reminder of just how unsustainable and fragile the world’s economies and democracies are. The crisis also provides a warning about what is rapidly coming down the track on climate change and environmental degradation. This has created both a need and an opening to rethink economic and social policies and re-evaluate what needs to be prioritised.

    The plan maps the ambitious and transformative policies – on livelihoods, care, and the environment – that are needed to build a more equal and sustainable future. To get there, it calls for context-specific policy pathways, tailored political strategies, and financing. The plan identifies key levers that can create change and the actors at global, national, and local levels that need to take action to move towards this vision.

  • 18 Sep 2021 10:21 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    In 2020, the United Nations declared 18 September to be the International Equal Pay DayStriving for Gender Equality is one of the key aims tracked by the UN – Sustainable Development Goal 5 specifically aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls worldwide.

    Even before the full social and economic impacts of COVID-19 are realised, the 2020 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report suggested it would take a further 99.5 years to achieve gender parity, and research since has shown that fallout from the pandemic has adversely affected women even more. An updated McKinsey Global Institute Report warns that not taking gender-responsive actions during the pandemic could lead to a $1 trillion loss in global GDP by 2030. 

    Based on economic data that has been released during the past 12 months, we have seen that the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities around the world, including gender inequalities. As companies seek to find an edge in the recovery from COVID-19, we cannot miss more opportunities to fully realise the enormous economic potential of women and girls. To advance gender equality, Australia is working with regional partners where 75%-90% of market vendors are women to install sanitation and safety equipment to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  • 13 Sep 2021 1:40 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Strong Female Lead is a very powerful documentary, depicting the highs and lows of Julia Gillard’s life as our first female Prime Minister. This review was written by Gillian Lewis, South Australian State Representative on the BPW Australia Board.

    From the makers of ‘See What You Made Me Do?’, Strong Female Lead explores the gender politics during Julia Gillard’s term as Australia’s first and still only female Prime Minister. Looking back at Ms Gillard’s time as Prime Minister, the film examines the response and tone from media commentators, the Australian public and within Parliament itself.

  • 07 Sep 2021 11:30 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Professor Lyn Craig of the University of Melbourne says national summits have their place — but asks what it will really take to achieve equality for Australian women.  She says women in Australia are over it, they are sick of the ongoing unacceptable levels of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence. They are sick of calling for better public safety and an end to the gender pay gap. They are also completely exhausted

    There have been criticisms of a "talkfest", of platitudes, of too many inquiries and summits but insufficient action, programs and funding over recent years - we already know what's needed, just fund it and get on with it.

    The Australian Human Rights Commission issued a statement which refers to their submission that called for adequate, long-term and secure funding for accessible domestic violence support services, based on consultation to ensure needs are met.

    What will women see from this Summit?  Will our needs and expectations and rights be met?  BPW will be monitoring the discussions, decisions and the follow-up actions and will keep members informed.

  • 03 Sep 2021 12:46 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The National Summit will be held online on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 September and members will be able to join the live-stream here. Check the program to see the sessions and the extensive list of speakers. You can print a pdf of the program to plan what sessions are most relevant to you or your club.

    Online roundtables were held on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 September.

  • 20 Aug 2021 1:07 PM | Angela Tomazos (Administrator)

    Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW Australia) is marking Equal Pay Day 2021 by joining Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on the call for Australians to ask #WhatsYourPayGap in their workplaces and industries. A crucial step towards bridging this divide. Research proves when organisation analyse and take action on pay equity , the gender pay gap closes.   

    The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) announced Equal Pay Day 2021 will fall on 31st August marking the 61 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same pay as men.

    Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is an Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. The Agency is charged with promoting and improving gender equality in the Australian Workplaces.

    Key facts in 2021;

    • The national gender pay gap is 14.2%.
    • This is a 0.8pp rise from the previous gender pay gap of 13.4%
    • On average, women working full-time earned $1,575.50 while men working full-time earned $1,837.00.
    • Full-time average weekly earnings difference between women and men is $261.50.

    So; what can we do? what steps can we take, as individuals or a collective, to increase this ‘on average’ calculation? To broaden the conversation; nuance the considerations and change the narrative? To achieve a more just, more equal and more inclusive society for a strong and thriving Australia; how do we make concrete steps towards this?


    This year we are encouraging our BPW Australia club members and networks to join WGEA call for the first step to find out #WhatsYourPayGap? by going to WGEA Data Explorer at www.data.wgea.gov.au/home  and seeing if their employer has done a pay gap audit and acted on its findings. We want our clubs to join in the call to start a conversation with members and their networks about the gender pay gap, what it means to them and how we can help to close it. We can all work together to eliminate gender pay discrimination.” Jacqueline Graham, BPW Australia President said.

    “BPW Australia surveyed women earlier this year on their experiences and expectations of the future of work. We found women were telling us they lack the confidence on current policy settings valuing their work , for example the skills and pay for someone pushing the wheelbarrow vs someone pushing the wheelchair.”  Jacqueline said.

    WGEA Director Mary Wooldridge said the increase in the pay gap was concerning and served as a warning to ensure continued focus, effort and commitment to drive it back down again.

    “Closing the pay gap is about fairness. Our data shows women’s average full-time wages are lower than men’s across every industry and occupation in Australia. ’The gender pay gap signifies that the work of women is still not treated as being of equal value to that of men. The 2021 Gender Equity Insights Report from Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and WGEA research reveals, the sobering reality is that, on current trends, it will take 26 years to close the total remuneration gender pay gap.” Mary Wooldridge said.

    To find out more , go to www.equalpayday.com.au

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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