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Happy International Women’s Day

Rebecca Vassarotti 7 March 2017 25

Women's rights

Each year on 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. This day has been designated by the United Nations as a day to reflect on the progress made for equality, a time to call for change in the areas where we have work to do and a chance to celebrate the work done by ordinary women making change in their communities, in their nations and globally to ensure that all citizens of the world reach their potential.

Some people may ask what is relevance of a day such as International Women’s Day in a community like the ACT.

While many people think this is a community where we have achieved equality, unfortunately the data tells us that while we have come some way to creating a more equal community, there is still much work to be done. Even here, women fight to get pay equity as women are paid about 11% less than men in the ACT, and occupy some of our lowest paid industries. For example, the ACTCOSS State of the Community Sector Survey 2016 found that 77% of employees in that sector are female, and one in four were casual workers. Women still end their work lives with lower levels of superannuation and stability in retirement and one in three women will suffer violence in their lifetimes. Women with a disability, from a culturally or linguistically diverse background, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women and lesbian, bisexual or gender diverse women face even more discrimination and structural disadvantage.

In the face of this reality, International Women’s Day also gives us an opportunity to celebrate the amazing women that are working to make a difference in our local community. Each year, the ACT Government recognises these achievements with the International Women’s Day Awards that shine a light on women of courage, conviction and those making the journey easier for the women who follow them. A great way to get inspired is to check out the honour roll of women who have been recognised for the great work they have done in the community, Women like Sue Salthouse who has been a tireless campaigner for the right of women with disability, Hilary Charlesworth AM who was instrumental in drafting the ACT (and Australia’s) first Human Rights Act, Kim Davidson who has worked to support young people from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community, Sue Packer AM who has spent her professional life to create greater protection for children and Audrey Fagan, the ACT’s first female Police Commissioner.

So, International Women’s Day is an important day for me, and one on which I draw inspiration from  the fantastic work that has been undertaken by women in our community. It’s one where I take stock on the work that still needs to be done, and one where I renew my commitment about what I can do to create an equal community.

And before you ask – International Men’s Day is on 19 November.

What do you think? Is International Women’s Day an important day for you?


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crackerpants 5:45 am 13 Mar 17

Masquara said :

crackerpants said :

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Cracker pants, did you notice that this thread pertains to International WOMEN’s Day? Feel free to insert mention of the male parents of toddlers in another context.

Oh very good, well done. You can continue to willfully miss my point, but that’s ok, because as the current crop of grumpy sexist old men fades into irrelevance, I can focus on raising the next generation to be clear-thinking, compassionate, inclusive and progressive.

Masquara 11:02 am 12 Mar 17

crackerpants said :

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Cracker pants, did you notice that this thread pertains to International WOMEN’s Day? Feel free to insert mention of the male parents of toddlers in another context.

crackerpants 8:56 am 12 Mar 17

Masquara said :

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

That’s the second shot you’ve levelled in these comments at that large cohort of working women who have perniciously conceived children in the absence of any male involvement, then flung their immaculately-conceived children to the four winds while returning to their high-powered careers.

That you fail to acknowledge any role fathers may have in raising their kids and paying for childcare is why we need International Women’s Day.

The comments that “women choose to work in lower-paying industries” are equally ridiculous. Ever wondered why those female-dominated industries are lower-paying in the first place?

Perhaps working dads could agitate for better pay and conditions for childcare workers. Luckily, in some relationships, we earn, pay, and raise our children as partnerships. Daycare fees come out of our joint account, not “housekeeping money”. (That is where both husband and wife have their earnings deposited into the *same* account – how outrageously modern!) But even then, working mums are also the ones agonising over every minute allocated to work, home, school, childcare, shoe-horning work emails into kids’ swimming lessons, school notes and car-servicing into non-existent lunchbreaks, with spreadsheets to work out how to maximise earnings but also time spent with the kids in the afternoons. Some of us realise that maternity leave aside, we need to maintain our participation in the workplace in order to take responsibility for our futures, because we are not heartless harpies that “married up”. Good grief.

Masquara 9:59 pm 11 Mar 17

I’ll find IWD interesting when upper-middle-class women agitate to pay higher childcare fees so that their childcare centres will pay childcare workers well above the award of $17 an hour. They don’t need Fair Work, unions, or awards, to achieve fairness for these underpaid and exploited young (mostly) women.

Futureproof 2:00 pm 11 Mar 17

The Daily Mail had an article today where a man and a woman swapped e-mail addresses. The man (with the woman’s email address) met hurdles, whilst the women (with the man’s e-mail address) had a much better deal.

bruce_lord 12:45 pm 11 Mar 17

I’m with the ladies on this one. I can’t stand blokes who go on about “where’s my equality or why don’t I get men’s equality day “.

Nothing stopping some blokes getting a sex change if they feel they will get more pay, more support and more equity as a woman.

Acton 11:46 am 11 Mar 17

Senior federal Labor MP Kate Ellis is to quit federal politics at the next election to spend more time with her family, particularly her two-year-old son. In her letter to constituents she said:

“The simple truth is that I just cannot bear the thought of spending over 20 weeks of every year in Canberra away from him and the rest of my family. When I think about having to regularly miss things like his first day at school, his presentations at school assembly , a first sporting match or even just being there for him when he is sick and wants his mum, I know that it would make me absolutely miserable.”

Good on her for getting her priorities right and enhancing her life and that of her family by spending more time with them.

She will have a wonderful time experiencing all the joys a small child brings. She will watch Sam grow and develop, teach him and share in his excitement at this beautiful world he has been born into. She too will see life through fresh eyes. Parenthood is a marvellous experience.

This also means that over time Kate will not earn the same amount of lifetime earnings and superannuation as her male and female colleagues who don’t give up work.

That is not discrimination. It is not gender inequality. It is her choice and her decision. It is a choice logically, willingly and happily made by millions of women.

chewy14 10:31 am 11 Mar 17

TuggLife said :

I look forward to having a similar discussion on 19 November – International Men’s Day – about how to juggle a successful career, fatherhood, ‘me-time’ and looking good. You know, ‘having it all’. Or is that a myth for men, too?

Katrine Marçal was right: “The female experience is always separate from the universal.” Thanks for the lesson in ‘othering’.

Don’t worry, we won’t be having that discussion because:
a) International Men’s day receives almost no coverage or official recognition. Hell, World Toilet Day is on the same day and more widely acknowledged.
And
b) The vast majority of men have known since forever that “having it all” is a myth. How many men are working in full time careers and spending the amount of time they’d prefer to be doing other things, whether it be family, leisure or whatever?

wildturkeycanoe 8:18 am 11 Mar 17

How can women get paid less than men? Where in EBAs or awards do they separate pay rates for different genders? I am absolutely certain that gender inequality in the workforce is illegal and if a business is found to be taking advantage of women, the government would come down on them like a hammer.
I’d say the real reason for the gap is choice. Women simply probably work in roles that don’t have as high wages generally. To turn this into a debate about gender equality is feminist propaganda and nothing more. We might as well be arguing that unemployed people aren’t getting paid as much as the employed and something needs to be done about it.

Rebecca Vassarotti 10:31 pm 10 Mar 17

TuggLife said :

This comment section is a cesspit of Facebook proportions – full of men telling women that inequality doesn’t exist, and unable to understand that the lived experience of many women is very different.

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been at home for three of the past six years to care for and feed a baby (you know, in line with the WHO and Australian guidelines). I work in a female-dominated industry, full of women in precarious positions like me, who aren’t in a position to truly unionise and fight for better pay and conditions. To change industry would mean retraining and starting from the bottom again, which I can’t afford to do right now. That makes it a little difficult to pursue a ‘more lucrative’ path.

Society just isn’t structured for working mothers (or working fathers, either, really). I’m supposed to work as though I don’t have kids, and mother as though I don’t work, because I also get asked why I bothered to have kids if I was just going to put them in childcare.

What would you like someone like me to do, exactly?

Hi there. I just want to thank you for your comments and for doing an amazing job investing in our future. Having children is a choice but it is one that means that we will have citizens who will contibute, pay taxes, be the doctors we need when we are sick, make us laugh when we are blue, grow our food, invent the things to make our lives better in the future. Thank goodness people make this choice because its often very hard. I believe there is a majority of people, men and women who understand the need for us to do things differently and recognise that inequity doesn’t serve any of us well. We just need to work together to find solutions that will make all our lives here.

TuggLife 8:27 pm 10 Mar 17

I look forward to having a similar discussion on 19 November – International Men’s Day – about how to juggle a successful career, fatherhood, ‘me-time’ and looking good. You know, ‘having it all’. Or is that a myth for men, too?

Katrine Marçal was right: “The female experience is always separate from the universal.” Thanks for the lesson in ‘othering’.

chewy14 3:55 pm 10 Mar 17

TuggLife said :

This comment section is a cesspit of Facebook proportions – full of men telling women that inequality doesn’t exist, and unable to understand that the lived experience of many women is very different.

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been at home for three of the past six years to care for and feed a baby (you know, in line with the WHO and Australian guidelines). I work in a female-dominated industry, full of women in precarious positions like me, who aren’t in a position to truly unionise and fight for better pay and conditions. To change industry would mean retraining and starting from the bottom again, which I can’t afford to do right now. That makes it a little difficult to pursue a ‘more lucrative’ path.

Society just isn’t structured for working mothers (or working fathers, either, really). I’m supposed to work as though I don’t have kids, and mother as though I don’t work, because I also get asked why I bothered to have kids if I was just going to put them in childcare.

What would you like someone like me to do, exactly?

I would like you to realise that your choices have consequences for which you are individually responsible for and to realise the reality that everyone, both men and women, make choices to prioritise certain parts of their lives daily. It is simply illogical to think you can have it all.

Our society isn’t set up for people who expect to be immune from the consequences of their decisions with the expectation that they can have all of their wants catered to by other members of society.

devils_advocate 12:27 pm 10 Mar 17

TuggLife said :

This comment section is a cesspit of Facebook proportions – full of men telling women that inequality doesn’t exist, and unable to understand that the lived experience of many women is very different.

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been at home for three of the past six years to care for and feed a baby (you know, in line with the WHO and Australian guidelines). I work in a female-dominated industry, full of women in precarious positions like me, who aren’t in a position to truly unionise and fight for better pay and conditions. To change industry would mean retraining and starting from the bottom again, which I can’t afford to do right now. That makes it a little difficult to pursue a ‘more lucrative’ path.

Society just isn’t structured for working mothers (or working fathers, either, really). I’m supposed to work as though I don’t have kids, and mother as though I don’t work, because I also get asked why I bothered to have kids if I was just going to put them in childcare.

What would you like someone like me to do, exactly?

Having children is a choice. The question is whether families should bear the full financial consequences of that choice, or whether that choice should be subsidised by society. The subsidisation may take many forms – through the tax/transfer system, or the myriad of other subsidies that might occur, and through to labour force gender policies.

There are sound arguments on both sides and in the end the answer is probably a question of degree.

TuggLife 10:05 am 10 Mar 17

This comment section is a cesspit of Facebook proportions – full of men telling women that inequality doesn’t exist, and unable to understand that the lived experience of many women is very different.

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been at home for three of the past six years to care for and feed a baby (you know, in line with the WHO and Australian guidelines). I work in a female-dominated industry, full of women in precarious positions like me, who aren’t in a position to truly unionise and fight for better pay and conditions. To change industry would mean retraining and starting from the bottom again, which I can’t afford to do right now. That makes it a little difficult to pursue a ‘more lucrative’ path.

Society just isn’t structured for working mothers (or working fathers, either, really). I’m supposed to work as though I don’t have kids, and mother as though I don’t work, because I also get asked why I bothered to have kids if I was just going to put them in childcare.

What would you like someone like me to do, exactly?

chewy14 11:13 pm 09 Mar 17

Rebecca Vassarotti said :

chewy14 said :

Rebecca Vassarotti said :

Mysteryman said :

While many people think this is a community where we have achieved equality, unfortunately the data tells us that while we have come some way to creating a more equal community, there is still much work to be done. Even here, women fight to get pay equity as women are paid about 11% less than men in the ACT, and occupy some of our lowest paid industries.

Please stop perpetuating this myth. Women do not earn less than men for the same work. It’s been proven repeatedly that women are paid the same for the same work. The discrepancy in pay comes from the fact the women often work fewer hours by choice, and don’t have the same qualifications as male counterparts in the same role.

We already have equality of opportunity.

For example, the ACTCOSS State of the Community Sector Survey 2016 found that 77% of employees in that sector are female, and one in four were casual workers.

I’m sure your familiar with the expression “correlation does not imply causation”. They aren’t being paid less because they are women. They are being paid less because they are in a sector that isn’t highly paid and usually requires no qualifications, or qualifications that aren’t difficult to achieve. Nothing is stopping women from choosing a more lucrative career path.

Hi there. Thanks for your comment. I am sorry that I just don’t accept it is a myth. It is an accepted fact that is reported in Australia. Find out more about the reality of the gender paygap here: https://www.wgea.gov.au/addressing-pay-equity/what-gender-pay-gap

Did you really just link to a agency who’s sole purpose is to perpetuate the belief that there is huge gender discrimination in Australia?

They are the main purveyors of wrong or misleading statistics.

For example, they claim that there is a gender pay gap that begins even for graduates. When the data is interogated, it shows that female graduates work less hours, in lower paying industries and are more likely to work in areas or companies with lower profit motives. ie. Public service, not for profits etc.

They also consistently promote inflated pay gap “headline” statistics that simply compare men and women without any normalisation for actual job, experience, industry, hours worked etc.

Calling them ideological barrow pushers would be being generous.

I actually just linked you to a formal Gov agency that has been established by the Fed Gov and supported by Govs of different flavors to work to address the real issues of gendered discrimination in the work place. Your comments regarding the community sector display a pretty limited understanding of an industry that requires a range of professional skills, and exposes many workers to vicarious trauma as they work to support people at times of crisis. Having worked in this sector for most of my professional life, its my experience that many trade decent pay, stability in employment tenure and security in retirement because they are dedicated and driven to contribute to their community, not because they are not qualified. The issue is that as a community we don’t value this type is work, and the gender composition of these industries has had a profound impact.

So what you’re saying is that people often choose careers based on more than pure monetary benefits and that job remuneration isn’t solely based on qualifications? I agree.

This isn’t in related to gender discrimination, it’s solely based on choice and the realities of a market economy which runs on supply demand

For example, there’s a reason that FIFO mining workers in WA get paid an exorbitant amount of money for often largely unskilled work. By your definition, these people (mainly men) should be paid a pittance. Are they paid these amounts because they’re men or because of a lack of supply and massive profits? Hmmmm.

Also noting that the WGEA was yesterday complaining about the worst gender pay “gap” being in WA at 24%, you’ll excuse my reluctance in having any faith in what they say.

Perhaps you’d also like to comment on the WGEA’s use of those “headline” statistics as proof of gender discrimination that I’ve mentioned?

Did you know over 90% of the prison population is male? I’m sure the WGEA will be right on it……..

Rebecca Vassarotti 7:55 pm 09 Mar 17

chewy14 said :

Rebecca Vassarotti said :

Mysteryman said :

While many people think this is a community where we have achieved equality, unfortunately the data tells us that while we have come some way to creating a more equal community, there is still much work to be done. Even here, women fight to get pay equity as women are paid about 11% less than men in the ACT, and occupy some of our lowest paid industries.

Please stop perpetuating this myth. Women do not earn less than men for the same work. It’s been proven repeatedly that women are paid the same for the same work. The discrepancy in pay comes from the fact the women often work fewer hours by choice, and don’t have the same qualifications as male counterparts in the same role.

We already have equality of opportunity.

For example, the ACTCOSS State of the Community Sector Survey 2016 found that 77% of employees in that sector are female, and one in four were casual workers.

I’m sure your familiar with the expression “correlation does not imply causation”. They aren’t being paid less because they are women. They are being paid less because they are in a sector that isn’t highly paid and usually requires no qualifications, or qualifications that aren’t difficult to achieve. Nothing is stopping women from choosing a more lucrative career path.

Hi there. Thanks for your comment. I am sorry that I just don’t accept it is a myth. It is an accepted fact that is reported in Australia. Find out more about the reality of the gender paygap here: https://www.wgea.gov.au/addressing-pay-equity/what-gender-pay-gap

Did you really just link to a agency who’s sole purpose is to perpetuate the belief that there is huge gender discrimination in Australia?

They are the main purveyors of wrong or misleading statistics.

For example, they claim that there is a gender pay gap that begins even for graduates. When the data is interogated, it shows that female graduates work less hours, in lower paying industries and are more likely to work in areas or companies with lower profit motives. ie. Public service, not for profits etc.

They also consistently promote inflated pay gap “headline” statistics that simply compare men and women without any normalisation for actual job, experience, industry, hours worked etc.

Calling them ideological barrow pushers would be being generous.

I actually just linked you to a formal Gov agency that has been established by the Fed Gov and supported by Govs of different flavors to work to address the real issues of gendered discrimination in the work place. Your comments regarding the community sector display a pretty limited understanding of an industry that requires a range of professional skills, and exposes many workers to vicarious trauma as they work to support people at times of crisis. Having worked in this sector for most of my professional life, its my experience that many trade decent pay, stability in employment tenure and security in retirement because they are dedicated and driven to contribute to their community, not because they are not qualified. The issue is that as a community we don’t value this type is work, and the gender composition of these industries has had a profound impact.

Michael McGoogan 3:23 pm 09 Mar 17

@HenryBG please update the email address associated with your RiotACT account.

devils_advocate 1:25 pm 09 Mar 17

*sigh*. Yes, women are paid less than men.

However, that effect falls away after controlling for such factors as hours worked, time spent over a career in and out of the workforce, and the type of work undertaken.

So, the question is whether we, as a society, need to respond to the economic consequences of voluntary choices made by women and families.

HenryBG 10:59 am 09 Mar 17

chewy14 said :

When the data is interogated, it shows that female graduates work less hours, in lower paying industries and are more likely to work in areas or companies with lower profit motives. ie. Public service, not for profits etc.

Statistical shenanigans aside, comparing earnings between the sexes still doesn’t tell you how those resources are distributed.

On average women are spending in excess of what they are earning because they are supported by their husbands.
On average their housing needs are met more via their husband’s efforts rather than their own.
Traditionally, women try to marry “up” so that they can be taken care of in this way. I don’t imagine women in general are going to stop marrying “up” just to make the feminists happy.
Women have a greater focus on casual jobs or other types of jobs that are flexible and/or undemanding because they are far more likely to be spending time at home minding small children.

The pay “gap” is thus an artifact of our social organisation, not a symptom of discrimination in the workplace.

To me, the stand-out issue with regards to sex differences and finances is superannuation. The current system is deeply flawed and structurally inimical to women – on average.
Fix superannuation for couples and you’ll have achieved something. Banging on about a mythical pay gap is just going isolate you from people who prefer their arguments and politics to be rational.

chewy14 8:02 pm 08 Mar 17

Rebecca Vassarotti said :

Mysteryman said :

While many people think this is a community where we have achieved equality, unfortunately the data tells us that while we have come some way to creating a more equal community, there is still much work to be done. Even here, women fight to get pay equity as women are paid about 11% less than men in the ACT, and occupy some of our lowest paid industries.

Please stop perpetuating this myth. Women do not earn less than men for the same work. It’s been proven repeatedly that women are paid the same for the same work. The discrepancy in pay comes from the fact the women often work fewer hours by choice, and don’t have the same qualifications as male counterparts in the same role.

We already have equality of opportunity.

For example, the ACTCOSS State of the Community Sector Survey 2016 found that 77% of employees in that sector are female, and one in four were casual workers.

I’m sure your familiar with the expression “correlation does not imply causation”. They aren’t being paid less because they are women. They are being paid less because they are in a sector that isn’t highly paid and usually requires no qualifications, or qualifications that aren’t difficult to achieve. Nothing is stopping women from choosing a more lucrative career path.

Hi there. Thanks for your comment. I am sorry that I just don’t accept it is a myth. It is an accepted fact that is reported in Australia. Find out more about the reality of the gender paygap here: https://www.wgea.gov.au/addressing-pay-equity/what-gender-pay-gap

Did you really just link to a agency who’s sole purpose is to perpetuate the belief that there is huge gender discrimination in Australia?

They are the main purveyors of wrong or misleading statistics.

For example, they claim that there is a gender pay gap that begins even for graduates. When the data is interogated, it shows that female graduates work less hours, in lower paying industries and are more likely to work in areas or companies with lower profit motives. ie. Public service, not for profits etc.

They also consistently promote inflated pay gap “headline” statistics that simply compare men and women without any normalisation for actual job, experience, industry, hours worked etc.

Calling them ideological barrow pushers would be being generous.

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