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Education: A perspective

 

In Australia we are lucky. Education is seen as a necessity and under the Education Act of each state, boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to attend school. This act is in place because as a country we are well aware of the benefits of education, not just to the individual and their quality of life but to the greater community.

Despite this, there are still many countries where receiving a formal education is not considered a necessity, especially for young girls. According to the United Nations two thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women (United Nations Statistics Division, 2013). This is catastrophic when you take a moment to reflect on what female education can do for the economy. According to leading Goldman Sachs analyst Kathy Matsui, educated women contribute to the quality, size and productivity of the workforce. They can attain better paying jobs, which allows them to provide daily necessities, health care and education to support their family (2013).

In addition to this, recent studies have shown that educated women are better at managing their own and their family’s health issues. For example, educated women are 40% more likely to immunise their own children and this alone helps to drastically reduce infant rates and improve overall demographic structures (Safeena Husain, 2013).

There is also a direct link between education and increasing the number of women in leadership roles within the workforce, as education is an essential pre-requisite to reaching and retaining key leadership and decision-making roles.

A key advocate for female education Safeena Husain, argues that putting more young girls in schools is the most effective way to reduce the gender […]

Is A Vote For Hillary A Vote For Women?

 
Hillary Clinton is running for American president again, sparking the age-old debate regarding the role of women in electoral politics and furthermore what the possibility of having a female president signifies for the future of gender equality, both in America and across the globe.

Being a symbol for gender equality is a heavy burden for Clinton to carry and as some have argued, overshadows her proposed political policies. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman, argued that “From the flurry of coverage this week about Hilary’s presidential candidacy, the primary focus was on the fact that she is a female.”

Furthermore professor of government at American University and Director of the Women & Politics Institute, Jennifer Lawless argued that the “Minute Clinton announced her candidacy, she became the official litmus test for true gender equality in the United States.”

What both Lawless and Freeman question is what will do more for gender equality: having a female president or a president that is good for women’s rights? Do these things have to be mutually exclusive; is having a female president the key to breaking down barriers to progressive change and gender equality?

It’s definitely something to think about and is explored further in Lawless’s article for the CNN. Read the full article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/12/opinions/lawless-hillary-clinton-electing-women/

Undeniable that women are ‘good for business’

 

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has set a target for 30% of board seats to be filled by women by the end of 2018, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

AICD Chief Executive John Brogden has argued that this target is not only the right thing to do in order to promote gender diversity in the workforce, but that it also equates to better business performance: “Numerous research demonstrates a positive link between the level of female representation on boards and improved corporate performance.”

Indeed, the financial company Goldman Sachs agrees with this sentiment, claiming that narrowing the gap between male and female employment in Australia would boost our GDP by 11% (Broderick, Elizabeth. 2010. ’What does a world of gender equality look like?’. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/what-does-world-gender-equality-look-2010)

In order to reach these targets and narrow this gender gap, Brodgen and Nicola Wakefield Evans, a member of Chief Executive Women suggest having available and flexible childcare for women in order to increase female participation in the workforce. They argue that there is a considerable portion of the female population that currently work outside-work hours or part time, in order to look after families. Brodgen argues that offering a tax deductible child care solution would help encourage women back into the workforce and more importantly into leadership roles.

The AICD target is hot on the heels of Melbourne Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement early last week, regarding his decision to legislate that all public boards must now have a quota of at least 50% of women serving as board members.

To find out more, read the full Financial Review article written by Nassim Khadem: http://www.afr.com/business/australian-institute-of-company-directors-wants-30-women-on-boards-by-2018-20150409-1mh0qt

More balance needed in the boardroom according to the Victorian Premier

 

Premier Daniel Andrews and Wife (Photo Sourced from Paul Jeffers, The Age,  March 28th, 2015)
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced recently that he is concerned about the falling numbers of women on boards in Victoria. Indeed, he is so concerned that he has made a bold move to legislate that all public boards must now have a quota of at least 50% of women serving as board members. The quota will apply to all Victorian courts and all paid Government board positions, including Treasury Corporation, Public Transport Victoria, Melbourne Health and the Country Fire Authority.

“Female representation on major government boards in Victoria has fallen from 40 per cent to a little more than 35 per cent in four years,” he said

“I’m sick of walking into meetings and seeing a room full of blokes sitting around the table,” Mr Andrews said. “It’s not a target, it’s not an aspiration. It’s an assurance.”

He went on to say: “Of all of the appointments my Government makes between now and November 2018, at least one half of them will be women, and I’ll be held accountable for it,” Mr Andrews said. “Under this Government, equity is not negotiable.”

Mr Andrews identified that the low numbers of women on boards is resulting in a lack of balance in terms of skills, a balance of views, a balance of experiences and a balance of knowledge. Certainly it would seem that this fact is valid across all boardrooms in Australia, whether they are  public bodies or private organisations.

Mr Andrews’ aim is for women to make up at least half of all future appointments to paid Victorian government board and court positions. This is vastly different to Victoria’s current climate where female representation on […]