“Next step in parental leave is tailoring it to give women best career rebirth”

Some commentary on the new Australian Parental Leave scheme proposed by the new Liberal government.

“Next step in parental leave is tailoring it to give women best career rebirth”

Article from Melissa Grah-McIntosh of the Brisbane Times September 11, 2013

Policies with impact for a productive society”

from Women on Boards (WOB’s)

Pay equity, women in leadership and childcare were the issues nominated as the most important to women in a recent survey of more than 1,000 members of Women on Boards.

Paid Parental Leave (PPL) was ranked the issue of least importance.

The survey was conducted over two weeks by Women on Boards to their database of more than 15,000 professional women with 1095 responses.

The purpose of the survey is to inform the future government, policy makers and the business community of issues impacting on the productivity, leadership potential and economic well being of women in Australia.

WOB Directors, Claire Braund and Ruth Medd, said the survey highlighted the complexity around the inter-related issued of maintaining workforce productivity while enabling employees to contribute to the social economy through parental and other caring responsibilities.

“The issues are complex and it is very clear that single issue policies implemented in isolation will not address the rapidly changing needs of male and female workers, business and society,” Braund and Medd said.”  see the rest of the article here

 

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Why Gender Equality is important to our economic future

Conference on Gender Equality in Government an...

Conference on Gender Equality in Government and Business – MENA Initiative (Photo credit: OECD)

Gender Equality is important, particularly in terms of gender diversity and seeing more women in leadership.  Women make up up more than half the population in most countries, except for India and China (United Nations 2010; pg. vii) where there are more men than women, effectively creating a greater number of men worldwide.  Women are the back bone of support structures in most situations (some without choice), and are the target of marketers of consumer products, yet they do not have full representation at executive manager and board level in most organizations.

It is imperative that women claim their voice, as equal citizens, as company directors and policy makers to shape a future for our children that is inclusive and not exclusive.  Gender diversity is here,  and is rightfully being recognized as a way to improve economic outcomes by tapping into creativity, innovation and a thinking pattern outside the norm.   Gender diversity programs offer organizations a mechanism to reach female resource’s that are often hidden in supporting roles where they are merely supporters of strategy instead of the instigators or collaborators of organisational strategy.

Greater gender diversity will allow many women to input directly into our economic future as decision makers and leaders, and not be restricted to indirectly impacting the economy by being consumers and supporters.  The parenting and care giver role, traditionally attributed to female’s need not be barriers to a women’s progression to leadership roles, or economic burdens if we value those roles.  The burden of childcare still falls to many women,  often by choice, but this can also create perceived barriers to  their career advancement or their ability to have agency over themselves and their own choices.

Very often the female’s wage is seen as the ‘second income’ for a family – or the ‘little job’ as many women refer to it, so it becomes a gender issue for a couple of reasons, but most notably because in our society like most others, the idea of women as primary care givers of children reinforces the idea of a gendered role for women. Of course, both men and women can look after children, but way back in about 1890 in Australia the start of wage inequality happened with policies developed specifically to discourage women from re entering the workforce. Some of this lead to the separation of roles (market separation) and the feminizing of parts of the workforce.  Once a part of the work effort became feminized and primarily performed by women, the wage could be lowered and these female workers could be paid much less than men – since it was believed that they could only ever make a small contribution to the family income because it was well known at the time (by the men making the policy) that men were the ‘breadwinners’.

Around this time, 1907 (the Harvester Judgement), the then President of the Australian Arbitration Court, Henry Borne Higgins devised the “living wage’ that was based on what he determined to be the minimum amount required for a man with a wife and 3 children to “keep himself and his family in frugal comfort” (MacIntyre 1985, pg; 55).  Mr Justice Higgins based his calculations on his expectation that all adults would marry, and that men were always the primary wage earners.  This is important because some of  that thinking is alive and well in the minds of our policy makers today.

Most notable being ex Australian Prime Minister John Howard who put many women offside because of his strong views about a woman’s place in the home. Current Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott often expresses similar views and consequently women have to constantly fight legislation that tries to erode their ability to work outside the home. The most obvious place that this happens is in the cost of childcare. For a average young family in Australia where the male earns a take home pay of $600, the second income, usually the female’s is capped at around $400 take home (after tax).  Anything over this means that they lose any child care subsidy that they currently have, meaning that for the female to go back to full time work, they need to earn a substantial income to cover the costs of full time childcare which can be anything from $80+ per day. When you start to do the sums, she is almost better to stay at home, which some believe is the purpose of the policy. I wouldn’t like to say that, however there are issues with this way of creating policy that I think is pretty shortsighted and entrenched in the patriarchal and religious belief’s of  less enlightened times.

Another problem for single mothers is that this same system can just encourage a cash economy as they struggle to get a second income to try and get ahead. Whilst they are stuck in low paying, casual jobs, many of them are losing their skill currency and this is what is costing our economy money, because they are not working to their full potential. Many are lost to their earlier careers, often finding it hard to get back into the same employment after taking time out for child care, meaning that the valuable input of talented women is being lost to our organisations and ultimately our economy.

References

MacIntyre, Stuart (1985) ‘A fair wage’ in Winners and Losers: The Pursuit of Social Justice in Australian History, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, Ch.3, pp. 51-58 (excerpt)

United Nations Statistics Division (2010), ‘The Worlds Women, Trends and Statistics’, Department of Economics and Social Affairs, ST/ESA/STAT/SER.K/19,United Nations publication,Sales No. E.10.XVII.11 downloaded 5/04/2013, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/Worldswomen/WW_full%20report_color.pdf

AWRA answers call for gender diversity

Original article published in Gas Today Thursday, 2 August 2012

AWRA answers call for gender diversity

Thu, 2 August 2012

The Australian Women in Resource Alliance helping the growing gas sector meet its skilled workforce needs through building greater gender diversity.

Australian Women in Resource Alliance (AWRA) Project Officer Marie Henry says that developing a greater level of workforce diversity has become a priority for employers embracing the great opportunities and challenges within Australia’s evolving energy sector.

“The country’s top six gas projects alone have a capital expenditure of more than $154 billion and the industry is reporting the shortage of professional and skilled workers could double by the end of this year,” she says.

To meet this challenge, resource industry employer group AMMA is facilitating AWRA. This part federally-funded initiative has a very clear objective: to boost the resources industry’s skilled workforce through the increased attraction and retention of women.

Ms Henry says “While women represent 45 per cent of the total Australian workforce, they make up just 16 per cent of the resource industry. This unfavourable figure has seen a number of industry stakeholders and academics unite under the AWRA banner to increase the representation of women in resources to 25 per cent by 2020.

“It may seem an ambitious goal, but we believe this can be achieved through the widespread implementation of workplace policies and procedures that both promote the employment opportunities abundant in the industry and ensure our workplaces cater to a gender diverse workforce.”

AWRA says that its Way Forward Paper is the first step in creating awareness of the economic benefits of gender diverse workforces.

The paper outlines how AWRA can facilitate the appropriate cultural change and promote best practice workplace policies to increase the participation of women in gas, mining and oil roles.

In coming months AWRA will also release its various Way Forward guides, which address a range of workplace practices and specific policies that will help our industry achieve this goal.

“Through support of the AWRA initiative, we can better promote the gas sector as an attractive career pathway for women and start making some real progress towards meeting our workforce needs,” says Ms Henry.

REFERENCES

Gas Today – http://gastoday.com.au/news/awra_answers_call_for_gender_diversity/076692/

Australian Minerals and Mining Association website

Gender Equality: A Good Investment

 

Melanne Verveer the US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues speaks about Gender Equality being not just the ‘right choice, but the smart choice’ to grow our economies.   She talks about research that has shown where the gap between male and female equality has been closed, those countries are far more economically prosperous and see an ‘enhancement to economic action’.

She further points out that studies have shown that women invest their income in far greater numbers into education, in activities that benefits children and the community, and concludes that this can only benefit all society.

see the video here Gender Equality: A Good Investment

References;

Posted on the Women’s Center on 3 November 2011.

 

 

 

China’s one child policy major risk to economy

China‘s demographic has changed dramatically since it introduced its one child policy (the trend for sexual selection with many female children aborted in preference to male children) in 1976 in a bid to increase its chances of economic growth.

In 2004 this article from World News predicted that:

“In eight to 10 years, we will have something like 40 to 60 million missing women,” he said, adding that it will have “enormous implications” for China’s prostitution industry and human trafficking.”

The concern about human trafficking refers to the practice of men potentially trying to ‘buy’ a wife, and with competition so fierce women have become a valuable commodity, but not for the right reasons.  China is now realising that there are not enough women to sustain the nation heading into the future.  The lack of women as a result of China’s one child policy and parents preference for boy children now has serious impacts on a the ability to marry, with men already outnumbering women some say by as much as 35 million.

A significant issue that China’s child bearing capacity into the future will be severely limited and could lead to factory farms where women are inseminated as breeders instead of having the freedom to take part freely in the development of their the country.  It is also feared that low-income young men will turn to violence in a bid to secure a female.  Worse still is the potential for a grossly male dominated driven agenda that could further marginalise and limit gender balance from women.

The traditional feminised workforce  of carer’s and support workers, ( traditionally female) are now in short supply and the fear is that as China heads into the future this largely unpaid carer workforce will be much reduced putting further pressure on their economy.

The result is an impact on the economy based on earlier gender biased polices that highly valued one gender over the other and this has resulted in short-term gain with China’s economic boom, but there are serious problems in the future if the one child policies are not changed.

REFERENCES

The Shanghaiist

Gender economics in the Guardian Saturday 10 July 2010

Women suffer more than most when government cuts budgets.   The impact is greater on women, as there are larger numbers of women who are unpaid carers, or work in casual lower paid work.   They are hardest hit by cuts to transport and support services when they occur.  In reality, most will work longer hours to make up the deficit in one way or another.  Whether that be overtime to increase wages or ferrying those in their care to support services using their own private vehicles instead of public transport.

Sadly, the real impact of this extra burden won’t be measured as much of it will be done outside working hours by unpaid carers, or as extra effort over and above paid working time.

[read the article]

Susanne interviewed by international professional network “Globiles”

Globiles Spotlight: Susanne Moore talks gender economics

December 01 Madrid & Central Spain

Globiles Spotlight is the feature where we give our most interesting and vocal members a stage on which to shine.

This month’s member, Susanne Moore, is “ a global citizen, consultant and entrepreneur “ she also manages the blog- http://changingwomen.org.

Here, she talks to us about gender roles in today’s professional environment.

– Interview by Andrea Maltman

 G: You created the website “Changing Women” – can you summarize what exactly you feel needs changing regarding the image of modern women?

S: the questions around gender equality and gender change are big subjects and the approach for Changing Women is to keep it simple, focusing on “the changing woman”.

The aim is to promote positive images of real women whose bodies and minds change during the course of their life experiences.

G: Why do you feel you are the one to do this shifting?

S: Probably the best answer here would be because I can.  I am an observer and strategist, so I have observed a great many things over the years.

I have more tolerance for people and I think that will help me to be a change agent on a global scale.

I have seen and done what works and what doesn’t work and I have begun to understand why society is the way that it is.

G: Globiles is about professional life and social mobility on a global/international scale. Do you think men and women truly enjoy equal access to these two experiences?

S: I think the degree of equality here varies depending on a couple of factors:  First, what country or cultural restrictions are imposed on you, what restrictions you impose on yourself and finally, what restrictions are imposed on you by others.

In short, I don’t think that we can yet say that men and women enjoy equal access to professional achievement or social mobility.

 G: In your blog you discuss the term of gender economics, what role does this concept play in business and professional life?

S: Gender Economics is a term that I am using to describe economies built around gender consumption.

It is an important aspect of our social and business climate today and certainly very important as we move into the future.

In the gender economy, we have reduced portions of the population to passive consumers, making indirect economic input rather than direct input.  Stabilising the balance between indirect and direct impact has a role developing our economic future.

G: What advice would you give to women who want to scale the heights of their corporate or business environment?

S: Be true to yourself and try to do the work that you want to do.  Once you are in the corporate environment, learn how the game is played.  Understand the politics of climbing the ladder and be wary of people that want you to fail.

Above all, don’t apologise for being a female! But do try to harness some of the traits that assist men in business-promoting yourself, speaking in solutions not complaints and not taking business dealings personally.

G: Once there, do you believe there is camaraderie amongst the ‘sisterhood’, or a tendency to join the boys club, as it were.

S: Unfortunately I don’t think that this is the norm in the same way as it is for men.  Men build strong networks, and compete head to head for promotion using the traditional “old boys” network, whereas in my experience, women seem to spend time competing against each other instead of working together.

It is such a shame because if they used their “woman-ness” they would know that  the greatest assets that they have is compassion, intuition, the ability to work as a team and support each other.

The good news is that I think this trend is slowly changing, but it really needs to be addressed at school while girls are developing.  Teach them to be happy with the self instead of looking outside of themselves for validation, working on self esteem will help them later in the workplace.

G: In your experience, have you found professional dealings to be easier with women or men?

S: I have mostly worked in male environments, construction and then Information Technology so I am used to working with men and find them to be easier than women.

I think that men are less complicated in the workplace and, as I said in the previous question, once you understand the game you know how to deal with it.

The absolute worst scenario is when another female tries to manipulate the men around you.  Men are, in my experience, easily distracted by a beautiful woman, and often don’t pick up on the subtle manipulations and put downs of other women

I would say that every time I have seen this behaviour, the company, or the men in  question have come off second best because they have made decisions that are not based on sound judgement.

G: As well as your writing and commentary on your website and blog, you are also an entrepreneur. Tell us about you business ventures and projects.

S: Since closing my consulting company in 2010 I have been doing lots of different projects.  I helped my eldest daughter develop her range of beauty products, Alli’s Stuff, and sell these through my lifestyle portal http://inthebushatthebeach.com

I am also consolidating my Integrity Management Methodology which I wrote in 1997, https://integritymanagementmethodology.wordpress.com

I hope to work within a specific niche, which will look at imbedding integrity and improving business performance by linking environmental responsibility, cultural sensitivity, gender, and the development of new paradigms for business management.

 G: You are also an accomplished public speaker, which subjects are you most passionate about?

S: I love talking about equality and integrity in business.  I have also spoken on subjects like outsourcing, project management, leadership and managing diversity.

I have been well known as a International Leader in the field of project management and have spoken many times on that subject.

Lastly my most recent passion is about Changing Women and speaking about the ways that the Changing Woman can help to change the world by harnessing their own inner power and strength.  This is just so important and something that I am extremely passionate about.

If you’d like to know more about Susanne, contact her on Globiles or check out her websites:

http://changingwomen.org

http://susannemoore.wordpress.com

Globiles is “A community of the global and mobile, sharing insights and contacts online and offline”