I know, I know – International Women’s Day was last week. It’s done and dusted for another year. The time for discussion and celebration is over – adios, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir. No more of that nonsense, thanks very much!
Every year, International Women’s Day marks a single, 24-hour opportunity to highlight both the incredible work women do; but also, the overwhelming inequalities they encounter in almost every aspect of life. So … what about the rest of the 364 days?
We can’t just do our obligatory social media post or morning tea, reward ourselves with a nice pink cupcake (for equality), and call it a day. Unfortunately, dismantling social structures isn’t quite that easy.
The issues of gender inequality affect over half of the population every day. More than one in three Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. One in five have experienced harassment in the workplace. On average, women retire with approximately half the level of retirement savings as men; and are paid approximately $253.70 less than their male counterparts.
It’s worth noting also, that whilst gender inequity transcends class and geography; these sobering statistics are very much a focus on the white, western society we live in, and that there are other parts of the world that are struggling with arguably more critical issues of discrimination.
So, ladies and gentlemen, here comes the big question: what can we do about it? If an Instagram post isn’t going to cut it, what practical and realistic systems can we implement in our lives to make a difference?
And look, I get it. Gender discrimination is a deeply-rooted, multi-faceted issue in our society (and one that clearly lends itself well to double-barrelled descriptions); and yes, it takes time and policy changes and head honchos of important organisations to make better decisions.
But it also takes small changes. Small changes in your personal life. Small changes in your workplace. Because small changes performed by many people, over a period of time = greater changes. It results in our favourite P word: Progress.
At CTC, we’re making our own small changes in our fight for gender equity. We’re paying our women more superannuation than men (before you come at me with “that’s not equality” please review the earlier facts and strongly reconsider). We have zero tolerance for any inappropriate behaviour and take immediate action if an issue arises. We offer flexible work arrangements and an accredited breastfeeding room. CTC is proud of our achievements in creating a culture and work environment that supports women (and men) irrespective of age, gender or background.
Gender discrimination is a complex problem and it will take time to overcome entirely. But that’s why we can’t just discuss these problems on International Women’s Day, and conveniently forget about them for the rest of the year. We need to back up our pledges with action. In the wise words of our favourite talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, “The future of life as we know it, is being determined by everything we’re doing – and not doing. Now.”
So, what are you doing in your life – both at work and at home – to fight gender inequality? And how many days a year are you doing it?
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