We proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2020. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.
We interviewed our very own Angela Franks, Executive Director.
What does equality in the workplace look like for you?
I want to say I feel lucky to have worked in companies that have always had gender equality. But there is no luck in it – I chose to work there and stayed because they had great cultures. Even in my first recruitment role, I was the only woman in a large team of men in a heavily male dominated environment but because I worked hard and tried not to be one of them I was respected. I got promotions, I was asked to take on projects and I had good relationships with people at all levels. Gender equality is not just about quotas or having a 50:50 gender split. It’s about surrounding yourself with great people (who would hire a man or woman if they were right for the job) who are open and aware of all unconscious bias. We discuss it, we challenge it and we create a place people love to work.
How do you think parental leave should be approached in 2020?
On my last maternity leave in the UK the laws had just changed to allow the flexible approach to parental leave which is leaps ahead of Australia. It meant we could manage our careers in a way that worked for us at the time – both only taking 3 months each. Gender equality however stretches far beyond the first 12 months of having a child and the logistics of needing and wanting to maintain a dual income household is more the problem. For the UK with the high costs of commuting and childcare there isn’t much incentive to return to work if you earn less than $50,000. The childcare subsidies available in the UK, whilst complicated in structure, were helpful.
In my ideal world we publish salaries and make dads take 6 month leave to look after their newborn. When that becomes the norm then we will see real change follow.
What have you or your business implemented to achieve positive changes for an equal workforce?
When there is equality at home and equal participation in unpaid domestic duties then we see positive change. Flexibility and flexible working practices are the key to that.
When an organisation offers flexibility to all its staff, rather than just new mothers, it allows a more balanced approach. But we all have to do it together at the same time. That’s the real issue.
Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by.