International Women’s Day

As usual, there has been a lot of public discussion in Australia about what Australian employers should do to help even out the disparities in opportunity for women in Australia. As usual, much has focused around what employers can do.

I am an employer, and I certainly think employers should be working towards equal opportunity. Small business and start ups may not have the same ability to grant generous benefits, but should be mindful of the environment and culture being established.

The part of the debate that I haven’t seen or heard is what we can do as employees and an employee community. Should it all be top down? Isn’t there a place for some self directed action from employee groups to examine their environment and see how they can make the work place more equal?

Most managers are in the lower ranks of an organization at some point, and this is where their behaviours are established. Isn’t it our societal responsibility to collectively take on responsibility for our workplace culture?

Gender equality in the workplace is tied to the behaviours that are established in schools. This is inextricably linked to subject choices and approaches to our careers. If we want more women in engineering and science, that starts in school and with the attitudes of our parents. We can’t entirely shrug off inequality as being a function of family leave or paid childcare. They are the operational aspects after the community adopts the vision.

And thank you Engineers Australia for a great event today.

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