Women's Conference outcomes to form foundation for change
On Saturday 12 March, more than 100 women members gathered at our ‘We Can Do It’ Women’s Conference to contribute to an important conversation: that of the challenges facing women in Australian workplaces.
The topic is an immense one - encapsulating concerns around the gender pay gap, inequitable caring responsibilities, inflexible working arrangements, inadequate paid parental leave, shortfalls in superannuation and the lack of female representation in positions of leadership – however, thanks to the insightful and constructive contributions of conference presenters and attendees, our union is now better placed to rise to these challenges.
Keynote Speaker, Professor Marian Baird, spoke of the historical and continuing inequity for working women, particularly when they start a family.
"Motherhood is a career game changer for women, financially and psychologically. There's a pay penalty on motherhood, while there's a pay premium on fatherhood," Professor Baird said.
And although the issues facing working women are significant, Professor Baird said that with advocacy and determination comes potential for change.
"Women are clearly not equal yet. I encourage you to keep up the fight,” Professor Baird said in closing.
The conference was a timely reminder that much of the progress in addressing these significant workplace issues will be made by women unionists, who will soon become the majority of all Australian unionists.
Our union already has a majority of women members, mirroring the gender representation of our industry, and thus has an important role to play in changing the landscape for working women.
Recommendations were made at each conference workshop which will inform our union’s Work Plan to address the challenges raised. Once developed, the Work Plan will be shared with our broader membership and map out the pathway to a brighter, more equitable working future for all women.