Happy International Women’s Day!
Welcome to Part 2 of 8 Things You Can Do to Make a Positive Impact on Gender Equality Today, a continuation of Part 1
International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual. Change isn’t just about the front-page stories, legal battles or policy reforms, it’s about our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets. Collectively, we can have an impact to create a gender equal world.
The 2020 #EachforEqual campaign runs all year long. It doesn’t end on International Women’s Day. The theme provides a focus for our collective efforts to build upon our action all year.
We challenge you to act each day to make a positive impact on gender equality. Here are some actions you can take to make a difference today.
What’s the one thing we can do to make a positive impact on gender equality?
- Ensure that parenting is a joint and equal endeavor – Lachlan Wood, Chief Operating Officer National Capital Authority.
“Avoid having a default parent. Raising children is one of the biggest ‘projects’ that couples will undertake and presuming that the mother will be the primary carer is unfair and can negatively impact on other life aspirations.”
- Flexibility for everyone – Junitha Giles, Director Iceni
“Workplaces are getting better at offering flexible working arrangements. If more men take up options such as paternity leave, part-time working, we move towards a more balanced workplace and home.”
What’s your tip for leaders?
“Leaders need to ensure flexibility is not linked to gender. Even better, we need our leaders to demonstrate that their team won’t be penalised for flexible working – by ensuring that they take up these arrangements themselves.”
- ‘Leave the room loudly’ – Tanya Bowes, Director CSIRO
“Whatever your role in your home situation, ‘leave the room loudly’. I can’t lay claim to fame for the saying, but it means, tell people if you are leaving to do pick up, take a relative or friend to the doctor, leaving early so you can get to the school play. Make sure those commitments are open and shared. Especially if you are a male, because its important equality and balance is applied to everyone.”
“I remember hearing a male colleague telling a meeting once that he had to leave early to pick his children up from school. It struck me there was no “sorry but I just have to”, no slinking out the door. It was bold and matter of fact. With that comes normality and acceptance.”
“It works daily because it says clearly what you value and who you are. And it encourages others to do the same.”
“That moment when you think: “I’ll duck out without saying anything. No one will notice.” Look at that moment as an opportunity to be open.”
What’s the barrier/s to gender equality?
“Language and conversations that aren’t inclusive, that inadvertently stop others from joining in. That happens without many people even noticing.”
What’s your tip for leaders?
“Be brave. Know that it’s not showing weakness, it’s the complete opposite.”
What’s the piece of advice you were given about gender equality that had the greatest impact on you?
“A male boss came up to me after a meeting I was running, and said “Great meeting, but I never want to see you getting everyone coffee at the start of a meeting again”. He was making the observation that in a meeting full of males, and only two females, I deferred to what I thought was a caring thing to do, but could easily be interpreted as a ‘role’. While I didn’t take it that way at all (I was just being nice, any I was getting coffee for myself anyway), I could see how I could have set a tone that wasn’t helpful. Especially 15 years ago!”
- Make the workplace ready for women – Georgina Legoe, Director Iceni
“Currently a young man starting work is more likely to achieve a successful career than an equally skilled young woman, due to structural and systemic biases against a woman’s life journey.”
“My observations over the 40 years of my career is that change in this area is glacial. We all know the reasons why we need the skills and contributions available from 50% of the workforce. The imperatives are more pressing than ever.”
What’s your tip for action?
“Be active. If you believe in an issue, engage with leaders in your community to have your voice and point of view heard. And hopefully create change!”
Iceni are passionate about progressing the equality agenda for women from all cultures and backgrounds. We believe strongly in embodying this within our organisation and the broader industry we work in.
An equal world is an enabled world. We started the Iceni sub-fund of Sydney Women’s Fund to align our charitable efforts with our values. To learn more about the Iceni sub-fund and donate, please visit: https://www.sydneycommunityfoundation.org.au/find_a_fund/iceni-fund/
Thank you to all our contributors for raising awareness of the importance of taking daily action to promote gender equality. Happy International Women’s Day 2020!