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With the onus now on employers to proactively prevent sexual haras...
It was a sleepy start to the year, with many of us choosing to keep mostly to ourselves while playing hide and seek with the Omicron variant. (For those of you who have been sick, had loved ones sick or been going to work where you’re looking after the sick – I hope you’re doing okay.) But with schools going back, restaurants calling our name and parliament sitting again, 2022 finally seems to be kicking into gear.
Like so many Australians, I spent most of last week talking about the incredible speeches by Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame at the National Press Club. (If you missed it, catch up here or read this excellent summary of key points from Katharine Murphy in The Guardian.) Their common argument – exceptionally well made – was that it is not enough for Australia to have conversations about violence and abuse. Words without action are meaningless. Survivors of colour are also seeking acknowledgment and recognition.
Speaking of lacking action, you may have seen that the Religious Discrimination Bill has been scrapped. The Prime Minister shelved his proposed law after consulting with religious groups who say it doesn’t go far enough, after Labor and the crossbench negotiated a critical amendment. Five government MPs crossed the floor, voting against the proposal that religious schools be allowed to “discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or pregnancy”. Political junkies may also be interested in this article about how a strong female crossbench could change Australian politics.
Discrimination in a range of forms has been dominating the news, with the release of fresh data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. WGEA had some pretty depressing new figures for us last week. Take a deep breath, folks, because this won’t be a fun ride. They found that in 2021, men were twice as likely to be highly paid than women, and on average were outearning women by $25,792 a year. Save those numbers for the next time some bozo tells you the gender pay gap isn’t real.
If you’re as boiling mad about the pay gap as me, then you’re probably keen for some big conversations (and big action!) about gender equality. We’ll be exploring the practicalities of diverse and equal leadership at Future Women’s annual Leadership Summit on 7 and 8 March in Sydney. In-person and virtual tickets are still available. This is the biggest event on our calendar and we’re working busily behind the scenes to make it truly memorable. Please don’t be the person who is miserable the week after because you missed out!
In lighter news, the Super Bowl was this week and as is an international tradition, people in Australia are talking more about the advertisements (and more here) than they are about the game. I will raise my hand, as being amongst those who were not watching, mostly because I have been busy binge watching And Just Like That (discussed at Future Women’s TV Club on Monday) and Euphoria (stay tuned for our next TV Club instalment plus here is some pre-reading!)
In Future Women news, we are counting down to our various and multiple events celebrating International Women’s Day. The celebrations begin on 2 March in Sydney with our third annual Breakfast Panel with Witchery, featuring some incredible First Nations women’s voices. We are also working with The Wheeler Centre, and hosting an in conversation between yours truly and the inimitable Roxane Gay on 16 March in Melbourne. Book now to avoid disappointment please!
If you’re looking for some great reads to get you through Hump Day, then the Future Women team have some recommendations. I have been asked to point you in the direction of Emma Thompson in the Guardian who has written about female bodies, family and ageing. Would you consider meeting me At 3am For A Coffee? The New York Times thinks that should be a thing. This piece about Friends Who Break Your Heart also struck a chord with our team.
Finally, in proof that anything is possible if you work hard and dream big, an eight year old has sneaked his handwritten book into a library in Idaho, and it now has a waitlist of over 50 people. Have a wonderful week everyone. Please keep safe, test negative and stay positive. We will see you in the Future Women community for more conversations about leadership, culture and connection, soon.
Chief of Content, Community and Online Learning, Future Women
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