• 01 Jun 2019 3:22 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Michelle Staff, a PhD student at ANU with an interest in women's and gender history, analyses the current and historical drivers of women's Parliamentary representation.

    Australia was the first country in the world to grant (some) women the dual rights of voting and standing for parliament in 1902; South Australia had already granted these rights to all women in 1894.  

    Despite some significant advances since, Australia still lags behind global standards. Before the 2019 federal election, Australia was 48th in the world in terms of women’s lower house representation, tied with Angola and Peru and falling below many other countries such as Rwanda, Nepal and Ecuador.

    The election has increased the proportion of women in parliament from 33% to around 35%, which clearly falls short of equal representation. This is a problem particularly for the Liberal party: only 23% of their representatives are women compared to the ALP’s 47%.  Although Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new ministry is being touted for its “record” number of women, the 7 women in the ministry hold just 8 of the 28 total cabinet positions.

    So why are women still struggling to make gains in our parliament and what does this say about the state of our democracy?  In The Conversation, Michelle explores the history of women's suffrage and tracks the discriminatory barriers that still impact today.

  • 26 May 2019 12:37 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Women’s Leadership Institute Australia has examined women's representation in the media and identified a problem: there are plenty of women working in the media, but that doesn't translate into media presence. As the '2019 Women For Media Report' shows, “...the media reality is that women are not experts, not sources. As those sources, we are missing from news stories and from feature stories, we are missing from photos both as photographers and as subjects; and we are missing in that very influential place in the Australian media landscape, our voices are missing from opinion pieces and columns.” 

    In this third instalment to the excellent Women For Media survey series, the news for news hounds is that the big story in gender inequality is in fact buried beneath the headlines.  Broad Agenda provides an excellent summary or access the full report.

  • 19 May 2019 3:34 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    From Girls to Men: Social attitudes to gender equality in Australia is a research program hosted by the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra. The research program studies the attitudes of boys and girls, men and women to gender issues relating to equality and empowerment. The report presents the findings derived from a national online survey of 2,122 Australians which explored the attitudes of boys, girls, men and women to equality and empowerment. The findings are alarming.  Read the full report and the summary snapshot.

    Millennials, born between 1982 and 2000, are often portrayed as accepting and valuing gender equality.  However, the survey results suggest Australia is following an international trend whereby Millennial and Gen X men are backsliding into traditional value systems.  

    Virginia Haussegger AM, the Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, is concerned that gender equality progress in Australia is in trouble. She reports that, despite Australia’s leadership in developing some of the best anti-discrimination legislative frameworks in the world, a brewing climate of backlash is emerging as a whole new challenge. Meanwhile, Australian women are failing to flourish as well as they should – particularly given our decade long lead in global rankings for female education.

  • 15 May 2019 6:36 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    BPW Australia has a long relationship with the Women's Electoral Lobby. Since its inception in 1972, WEL has been feminist, fiercely non-partisan, independent and progressive in its social and economic policies and in its political advocacy. 

    WEL’s mission is to hold governments and political leaders to account to progress women’s equality across all aspects of Australian life. WEL does not shy away from this advocacy, and works tirelessly with subject matter experts to analyse government policy to identify the gaps, and the true impact of these programs on women’s lives.

    WEL has released its 2019 Federal Election Scorecard, backed by their full statement

    Kelly O’Dwyer today responded to WEL’s election scorecard: ‘It’s not independent & ignores our achievements’ in Women's Agenda.  WEL responds: Minister O’Dwyer misses the point on independent criticism from Women’s Electoral Lobby. WEL’s 2019 Federal Election Scorecard indicates whether parties are listening to Australian women and meeting their needs. WEL respects Minister O’Dwyer’s view and her hard work as Minister for Women, however we stand by our 2019 Federal Election Scorecard. It is measuring future party policies against WEL’s Top Priority issues. If political parties or the Government feel criticised, this helps them to reflect on what more they can do to achieve women’s equality under their leadership.

  • 12 May 2019 9:50 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Grattan Institute asserts the ALP's proposed change to childcare support is the most important economic news of the election campaign.  The 2019 Grattan Institute Commonwealth Orange Book identified getting more women into the workforce as one of the most valuable things the next government could do. Female participation in the labour force is lower in Australia than in similar countries. It is particularly low for women working full-time. That’s because motherhood hurts female participation more in Australia than in other countries. Before having children, Australian women are just as likely to work as men. On having children, many drop out of work and some never go back. Those who do return often pay a career penalty, and the childcare barrier is a significant factor.

    Women with children receive relatively little financial reward for entering the workforce, and even less for working more hours. Some find working more hours costs more than it pays. They face high effective marginal tax rates because as they work more hours they lose more family and childcare benefits as well as paying more income tax. Factoring in the cost of childcare itself, some face costs exceeding 100% of what they earn.

    Here the Coalition deserves some credit. Its previous reforms to the childcare subsidy helped reduce effective marginal tax rates. But there’s still a long way to go, with many mothers still facing very high effective rates.

  • 05 May 2019 3:11 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Women are entering and staying in the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, but many of us are still fighting an uphill battle when it comes to career opportunities. We’re still earning less than our male peers — a disparity that starts at the graduate level — and men continue to dominate leadership positions across most industries. Women who have children also continue to face a motherhood penalty and, come retirement, end up with significantly less in superannuation savings than men. Smart Company proposes that employers can do more:

    Make equal pay a priority: The total remuneration gender pay gap was found to be at 21.3% at the end of 2018, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

    Champion women’s career progression: Women continue to be less likely to progress into managerial positions compared to their male colleagues.

    Address unconscious bias: Unconscious bias is one of the biggest factors limiting a woman’s career potential, and sadly, it’s endemic in most industries.

    Extend more family-friendly policies to male employees: As long as women are considered the primary caregivers of children, we will never achieve gender equality in the workplace.

    Reward employees: What most women value in the workplace are more practical policies and opportunities - more flexibility, development training, job security and respect.

  • 28 Apr 2019 11:30 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Women are entering and staying in the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, but many of us are still fighting an uphill battle when it comes to career opportunities. We’re still earning less than our male peers — a disparity that starts at the graduate level — and men continue to dominate leadership positions across most industries. Women who have children also continue to face a motherhood penalty and, come retirement, end up with significantly less in superannuation savings than men. Employers can do more.

    Smart Company explains 5 things employers should do to improve the outcomes for women employees, starting with making equal pay a priority.

  • 19 Apr 2019 10:21 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The outcome of CSW each year is delivered as a set of agreed conclusions, negotiated by all Member States.  CSW 2019 was characterised by an unfortunate lack of agreement, with many Member States arguing to water down previously agreed matters – reducing rather than advancing women’s rights.  The 2019 CSW Theme was Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.  The Report is long, but UN Women provides a summary.

    BPW International has speaking rights at CSW.  BPW International Young BPW Executive Representative Neelima Basnet from Nepal delivered the BPWI statement this year.

  • 07 Apr 2019 9:29 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The ALP has produced its own Women's Budget Statement describing the issues believe are important to women and how they plan to address them.  Many of BPW Australia’s National Conference resolutions over recent years are included in this document, although neither major party has prioritised more affordable accessible childcare.     

  • 05 Apr 2019 11:37 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The National Foundation for Australian Women has developed an overview of the 2019 Budget and its impact on women. This is complemented by a series of papers by NFAW’s Social Policy Committee, to summarise 2019 Budget measures of importance to women in Australia.  NFAW is a feminist organisation, independent of party politics. 

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.


2015 March
2015 February
2015 January


2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January


2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software