International Women's Day - Women and Change by Professor Marian Baird

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Professor Marian Baird presents statistics on women in the workforce in Australia in 2014.

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  • I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and to pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I would also like to acknowledge and pay my respects to any indigenous people present this morning.
     
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    So, my topic for today is ‘Women, work and Fair work: A Step forward?’’, which is a remarkably similar topic to one I had a group of my students address last year – that is, has Fair work made workplaces fairer for women? (Not so many of them did brilliantly at that, so let’s see how I go). And I have to note that standing on a picket line yesterday ate my homework. So some of what I’m going to present to you today might be characterised as ad lib. I’m sure this audience will understand.
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    When Adam asked me to speak today he asked me to talk about collective bargaining which is my other area of work, but we agreed it would be remiss to let IWD go by without looking at the position of women at work, which goes to show among other things what enlightened men they are over there at the AMWU.
    What I’m aiming to do today is to walk you through some of the latest statistics on women and work, to do a bit of an evaluation of where women are today and then possibly have a look at how the Fair Work Act has impacted – or not upon - that . I think the message I have for you is that we’ve got quite a bit of a complicated problem if you like when it comes to looking at where women are in the labour market, so this means we’ve got some pretty complicated things to consider when we get to thinking through solutions.
    I think one thing that is very clear when we look at the latest data is that while some things have changed remarkably for women in the last generation that there is still considerable work to be done. And probably the people in this room will be doing some of it.
    Hope fully
  • Source:
  • Source:
  • WGEA: ‘17.5%,  which equates to the average full-time woman earning $266.20 less each week than the average full-time working man ($1252.20 compared to $1518.40, an annual difference of $13,842.40).’
    https://www.wgea.gov.au/news-and-media/cost-being-female-64-extra-days-work
  • We know a little more about the glass ceiling, and there has been a bit of a debate about this in the past 2-3 years, but this is in some senses is a logical consequence of some of the other bits of the architecture I’ve already outlined. The problem here is a serious under representation in senior roles (or as I like to think about it, a serious over representation of men in such roles)
    ASX
    12.3 per cent of directors in the ASX 200, so the top 200 by market capitalization. Doesn’t sound like much but that is up 3.8% from the figure of 8.4% in 2010
    3 per cent of chairs of these companies are women
    3.5 per cent of CEOs of these organizations are women
    9.7 per cent of key executive managers positions
    77 ASX 200 companies do not have women on their boards (I find this a little bit shocking, I mean surely some of the guys in these roles must look around and realize something is not quite right)
    PUBLIC SECTOR performance is a little better. If we look at the APS 57.3% of APS employees were women at June 2012. Women comprised 39.2% of SES ranks (which are 1.8% of overall APS workforce)
    In politics: Thinking only of the federal parliment, women make up 24.7% of elected positions in the House of Representatives and 38.2% of the Senate (the National party do worst on this, then the libs, then labour, then the Greens) (so men make up 75.3% of Reps members, 62.8%)
    In the LAW
    61.4% of law graduates are female, yet women make up only 16% of judges in the Federal Court of Australia (so men are 84% of federal court judges)
    In EDUCATION & TRAINING
    women are 62.6% of employees, 45.1% of managers & 27.8% of CEOs (better than most)
    Vice-Chancellors: 22% are women
    SPORT
    one in five National Sport Organisations have no women directors!
    UNIONS – have some room for improvement
  • (See Slide)
    Plain old fashioned sexism – I can give you lots of examples here – but if we just look at the Gradstats (done by Graduate Careers Australia) and have a look at graduates who are under 25’s first full time salary after university and you will see that in 2012,
    women’s starting salary was 50,000 (unchanged from 2011)
    Men's was 55,000 (up from 52,000 in 2011)
    So 10% higher
    So even before any work experience or gathering of any social capital, women already significantly behind.
    ________
    And the Australian IR system has not dealt with this problem particularly well.
    As Justice Mary Gaudren said many years ago,
    “We got equal pay once, then we got it again and then we got it again and now we still don’t have it.”
    And that about captures where we have been in relation to pay equity in the late 1960s, the early 1970s.
    I’ll come back to the ASU’s case at the end when I look at the FWA
    _______________________________________
    Inequality in pay has an impact at the time of payment but also across the life course, and is one reason why women retire with about half the retirement savings of men’s (160,000) – and 160 does not sounds like a lot to me.And is one of the reasons why older women form the majority of poor frail and aged (that and that we live longer)
  • Need to recognise that there have been some pretty good things happen in recent times – not that we got there without some considerable arguing and fighting......
    Finally we have a system of paid parental leave introduced. Among other things this recognises the role women play both in the labour market and outside. And it stops us from being embarrassed internationally. When compared to countries like Uzbekistan. (BTW submissions for the review are anticipated in the next few days so writing submissions which might counter some of the inevitable arguments that employers will make in relation to how far the sky has fallen in could be something useful to do to occupy your time)
    Fair work introduced right to request flexible working for parents with kids under school age (came into effect on Jan 1 2010). I will admit that I think that the system as it stands is perhaps limited by the fact that there is no appeal mechanism. But more recent moves to extend the right to school aged children are certainly welcome (as we know, kids don’t stop impacting on your career just because they are off parental hands for 30 hours a week in school).
    Fair work also introduced the capacity of Fair Work Australia to make equal remuneration orders – in the ASU case the Full Bench of the Commission, agreed that the position of the highly feminised workforce in family and community services was affected significantly by gender-based discrimination and made orders which could mean wage increases of between 19 and 40%. Interestingly Fair Work explicitly referred to the caring nature of the work involved in their judgement and linked this to gender (the first time, to my knowledge, that this has happened). But as great a victory as this is, as a mechanism to kill the gender pay gap, it will be limited by the length of time cases take to be heard and then the phasing of wage outcomes. Added to this -variations to single awards are a very very slow way to correct historical undervaluation and underpay.
    The low paid bargaining stream was seen by some (including me) as having some potential to lift low paid workers wages, among other things. The United Voice’s case though suggested that bargaining history (no matter how close to the award the outcome is) trumps low pay in this stream and this thus limits its useability and impact. Minister butler’s workforce compact announced this week is likely to have a greater impact on that sector than that case could ever have hoped for.
    Workplace Gender Equality Act was a long time coming and was passed in late November last year. Presents some innovations and perhaps in its reporting requirements might lead to broader and better outcomes (for example it puts pressure on employers to perform better than their industry averages etc.)
    There are problems with all of these things of course
    Mat leave is not paid high enough and is not long enough
    Right to request is essentially a ‘right to ask’, (and a lot of the research suggests employees don’t know about it)
    Low pay is trumped by bargaining even in a low paid stream (there are limits to a developed system’s capacity to deliver for women)
    Achieving pay equity through equal remuneration orders will take as long as the ice age (potentially longer)
    And the gender equality act – essentially with its focus on buying business in might be about as effective as the Affirmative action act was
    But it is better than nothing - and it better than we fared under Howard. – and better I predict than we would fare under a potential Abbott government.
    Some self regulation occurring: ASX
    Significantly, as of 1 January 2011, the ASX Corporate Governance Council has implemented a diversity policy that requires all publically listed companies in Australia to set gender diversity targets. These companies will be required to report on their targets and provide explanations if they are not in place.
  • Final remark would be that the history of building women’s rights suggests that wer are never as women given anything because government or business seem to come up with a good idea.
    Gender equality at work is something which has been fought for over many generations
    We are nowhere near it
    But we would be a lot further away from it if it were not for organisations like unions.
    We are all in for a tough time – i fear - in the coming years and I fear that some of the vistories we have womn for working women since 2007 will be stolen from us.
    But, I look forward to working with you and following your work toward gender equity in the coming years.
  • International Women's Day - Women and Change by Professor Marian Baird

    1. 1. Women and Change International Women’s Day 2014 Warringah Council Professor Marian Baird marian.baird@sydney.edu.au BUSINESS SCHOOL
    2. 2. Male and Female Participation Rates 1978-2013, % ABS Labour Force, Australia, April 2013 Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001
    3. 3. Male and Female Employment 1978-2013 (Numbers)
    4. 4. ‘M’ CURVE: women’s labour force participation rate by age 1978-2013, % ABS Labour Force, Australia, April 2013 Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001
    5. 5. ‘M’ CURVE: women’s full-time employment rates by age, 1978-2013 ABS Labour Force, Australia, April 2013 Cat. No. 6291.0.55.001
    6. 6. Inverted ‘U’ CURVE: men’s labour force participation rate by age 19782013, % ABS Labour Force, Australia, April 2013 Cat. No.
    7. 7. Maternal employment rates by age of youngest child, 2009 7
    8. 8. Maternal employment rates by age of youngest child, 2009 8
    9. 9. Gaps › Hours gaps – women work part-time; men work fulltime › Leave gaps – women take more leave from the labour market than men › Security gaps – more women in casual and precarious employment › Career gaps – the labour market is segregated and women are not represented in leadership positions › Pay gaps – women earn 17.5% less than men
    10. 10. Ceilings? Women in leadership census Nov 2012 10
    11. 11. Pay 11
    12. 12. The Changes › More mothers in the workforce – ‘part-time norm’ › Rise of female breadwinners – ‘rise of wives’ and ‘breadwomen’ › More self-employed women – ‘mumpreneurs’
    13. 13. THE MUMPRENEUR Images: Coniville, N. “The Rise of the Mumpreneur”, Body+Soul Mums http://mums.bodyandsoul.com.au/pregnancy+parenting/parenting+tips/the+rise+of+the+mumpren 13
    14. 14. The Policy Changes 1. Right to request flexible work arrangements (Fair Work Act, 2009) 2. Right to request extension to unpaid parental leave (Fair Work Act, 2009) 3. Pay equity – equal remuneration principles (Fair Work Act, 2009) 4. Low paid bargaining stream (Fair Work Act, 2009) 5. Paid Parental Leave (Jan 1, 2011) 6. Dad and Partner Pay (Jan 2013) 7. Workplace Gender Equality Act (setting new standards and benchmarks, 2013 – being reviewed now)
    15. 15. Change and Continuity - Women are more educated than ever (and than men) - Women are entering the workforce, and staying in it, in greater numbers than ever - Women's experience at work is different to men’s -> hours gaps, career gaps, pay gaps, superannuation gaps - Some policy advances have been made but challenges remain - Women’s experience in the labour market is changing - but this is not reflected at home 15
    16. 16. HAPPY IWD 2014 16

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