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Rwanda Leading The Way In Gender Parity Within Parliament

An article posted in The Guardian this week, citing four African nations within the top 10 countries with the highest number of female politicians leaves a lot to be desired for our western counterparts.

Jane Dudman reported in her most recent Guardian article that Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles and South Africa are among the top 10 countries with the highest number of women in their parliaments. Rwanda is top on the list, with 64% of its MPs being female. Seychelles is fifth, with 44% of female MPs within its parliament, while Senegal is seventh with 43% of female MPs and South Africa is ninth, with 42% of female MPs.

Furthermore, of the 46 countries where women account for more than a quarter of parliamentarians, 14 are in Africa. Australia do not fare well in this particular set of statistics: within the Pacific region New Zealand was the only country with over 30 percent female MPs in 2015, with 31.4% in it’s lower house. Meanwhile Australia hovers at the 30% mark, which is marked by the United Nations  as the minimum level necessary for women to influence decision making in parliament.

 

According to the Inter-Parlimentary Union which produced these statistics, the increase in female participation within African Parliaments is most likely due to electoral quotas; where specific quotas are set for female candidates within elections. Alternately, many western countries like Australia and the UK do not have these quotas in place.

Looking at these statistics, perhaps it’s time for Australia to start learning from other countries particularly our African nations, on how to improve gender parity within our government and overall within our society.

To read the full article on Rwanda’s political breakthrough click here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/01/lessons-rwanda-female-run-institutions-mps

To see the full report on […]

Wise Women Will Save The World

   

When we discuss gender equality we tend to focus on the female perspective; how women are still underrepresented in decision making roles within the workforce and are still on the trailing side of the gender pay gap. However we don’t often mention the male perspective and what men are doing to minimise patriarchy values within our society.
This is a mistake as examining the male perspective, is just as important in achieving gender equality. After all equality cannot be created without ensuring both genders have a voice and the same stake in society.

One individual that acknowledges this and is doing his bit to end patriarchy is Australian Comedian Graeme Bowman. Lucia Osborne-Crowley from ‘Womens Agenda’ reports on his efforts below:

For Bowman, watching his wife Jennifer go from being a stay-at-home mum to a Masters student, then a Masters graduate and then an artist, was profound. His perception of her empowerment and the struggles she faced along the way made him realise for the first time just how damaging the patriarchy is to society.

Bowman started seeing evidence of this everywhere, and understood why fighting for women’s participation and gender equality is so important.

“No matter what I saw or read about, I just kept coming back to this idea – the idea that the patriarchal system is the fundamental problem at the root of so many things,” Bowden claimed.

So Bowman decided to do something about it. He founded and created an online community called ‘Wise Women Will Save the World’, which aims to empower and support women and encourage the open and sensitive discussion of issues important to women and girls.

More recently Bowman has also decided to take on patriarchy through satire. Along with his wife Jennifer […]

Women As Leaders

 

 

On the 27th of February this year, VM Learning launched its first program of the year; the successful and incredibly popular ‘Women As Leaders’ program, which VM have been running since 1993.

However, despite being over twenty years old the program is still just as relevant. According to the not-for-profit research organisation Catalyst, by March 4th 2015 24 (4.8%) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies were held by women. Furthermore, 19.2% women held board seats and 25.1% of women are holding executive/senior-level management positions. This in contrast to the 45% of women that hold labour or basic level positions in the same company (Catalyst. Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies. New York: Catalyst, January 13th, 2015).

While it cannot be denied that these statistics have improved over the last ten years or so (in 1998 11.2% of women held board seats and in 2008 15.7% of women held board seats) Catalyst noted that at this current rate of growth, it would take over 35 years for the number of female corporate officers to match the number of male officers, despite a relatively even ratio of male and female workers in labour or first level positions (Catalyst. Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies. New York: Catalyst, January 13th, 2015).

These figures indicate that there is still much progress to be made in order to create a gender balanced workforce in terms of both high levels of management as well as entry level positions. Furthermore recent reports have also revealed that companies with gender balanced boards were better equipped to oversee corporate actions and ensure corporate citizenship standards were met; two aspects which build stronger and more sustainable companies (McKinsey & Company. Gender Equality. 2007-2012.)

Clearly it has never […]

A Celebration of International Women’s Day

 

 

In honour of International Women’s Day being held this Sunday, we wanted to provide further information into the background of this auspicious day; its significance, its history and its relevance in the 21st century.

While the broad description of International Women’s Day is a day to ‘celebrate women’s achievements’, the purpose and significance of the event is so much more. On the 8th of March, thousands of events ranging from political rallies, business conferences and government activities are held around the world to not only celebrate female achievement but to also unite, network and mobilise for positive change.

These events were first observed in the United States on 28 February, 1909. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. From there, The Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day in 1910, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. This proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference.

As a result of the Copenhagen initiative, International Women’s Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded women’s rights to work, to vocational training and an end to discrimination on the job.

From 1914 to 1918 International Women’s Day also became a mechanism for protesting World War I. Women held rallies across Europe during March to either protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists.

Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global […]