Friday, June 25, 2010

Women in Charge

A Queen
The Most stylish of Govenor Generals, her Excellency Ms Quenten Bryce
Prime Minister- Julia Gillard
NSW State Premiere- Kristina Keneally
Lord Mayor of Sydney- Clover Moore

I agree it shouldn't matter that they are women- but it does.
 It matters because:
  • There are 12 times as many men as women on the boards of the top companies and women in senior roles are earning an average of about 30 per cent less than their male colleagues, (SMH, 2009) .
  • Women still get paid less than men. Either women being paid less than men for doing a similar job; or women being paid less than men because they work in undervalued female dominated occupations such as teaching, nursing and hospitality.
  • Unequal pay occurs across all sectors in Australia, even in the female dominated retail industry where there is a 7% pay gap in favour of male workers. In health and community services men earn 25% more than women. Not surprisingly one of the biggest pay gaps is in the male dominated finance and insurance industry where a man can expect to earn a whopping 38% more than a woman.
It matters because these women are to some, role models, because they hold postions of power,  because, finally, there is a woman in the top job. Think what you will about their politics and attitudes and OF COURSE I think they should be judged on what they acheive rather than the fact that they are women - OF COURSE I do !!

Being a cynical realist, I am not expecting much, I am not expecting huge changes I am not expecting sweeping reforms for women - although paid maternity leave is a step in the right direction of course, I just think it is what it is... a woman in the top job. And that can only be a good thing, even if it is only for a short time... let's see what happens next.....


  1. thanks for this post Cath - I posted on this too, and fully agree with your sentiments...

  2. I'm going to do that thing our Mothers all tell us to do and "...say nothing at all" my dear - not only do I feel my sentiments are not the most popular ones, but there are so many political commentators out there already that I feel are a bit more qualified to argue about all this than little old me!

    I guess the fact that is is EVERYWHERE and is going to be for some time is annoying me - as did the Obama news - don't lynch me guys! - but I think I live in some sort of naive fantasy world where all this stuff doesn't matter. The fact that we make such a big deal about it seems to me to make it more of an issue than it is or should be, but I know, KNOW, I am in the minority.

    And now, I am going to willfully ignore any more blog posts about this, anywhere, lest I get myself into trouble!


  3. I just love that my 4 year old (red headed) daughter can happily know that she can do ANYTHING she wants in life .... ANYTHING!!!!

  4. How wonderful seeing the female GG swearing in the female PM.

    And while I am with you that gender shouldn't matter, it clearly still does. Ignoring the significance of the occassion does a disservice to all our older sisters who did the legwork to get us here.

  5. The women are taking over in Australia! Thank goodness.
    Lets pray that equals less wars.Although I am sure you all remember Thatcher...

  6. I think it absolutely matters. For the exact reasons that you have mentioned. We still do not have full equality for women. Women do not share the same opportunities and rewards that men do. It's not a gripe, it's a fact. And it's critically important that we keep noting and talking about these things so that they remain on the agenda. So that we continue working towards equality for all.

    What doesn't matter is the constant need to assess/question/speculate about a woman's capacity simply because she's a woman.

    Can you tell I'm a wee bit passionate about these things? And I'm so glad that people like yourself choose to talk about them on your blog. There seems to be an unspoken etiquette that craft and politics don't mix. Feminism and craft most certainly do. Go you Cath.

  7. Hey chunky don't forget qld premier Anna Bligh!!!

  8. great post Cath! im just sensing a deep breathe of fresh air and a certain buzz in Politics again - very sad for Kevin but happy for the party and for a much better chance to stay in Power...

  9. I think its great, don't get me wrong, but I think that path is only for a few. The sacrifices made to get there are enormous and seem to me to be not worth it to most women. Who is raising the next generation while we become top politicians and buiseness women? Certainly not the men. Can women have it all? Certainly not.

  10. Great post!
    I love that it is getting more normal to see women in positions of responsibility, but agree there is still so much more to do, especially in some third world countries where women are lower than animals.
    anyway good luck to Julia!!!

  11. Following on from "remember Thatcher" comment - and lets not forget whatshername who was the Indian female head of govt (prime minister I guess?) was it Indira Gahndi (forgive my political ignorance) responsible for introducing the policy of compulsory sterilisation that led to 100s and 1000s of men and women apparently being round up against their will to be sterilised even those in their teens prior to even starting a family/having children.

  12. I guess my point was at the end of the day they are a POLITICIAN and head of a party more so than a man or a woman

    as much as I think it is super cool and history in the making to be the FIRST Aust woman PM

    Go you good thing!

    I am tired already of all the talk about her hair and her clothes and her marriage (or lack of) and children (or lack of) - who cares - really!?

    although as I type this I realise I have to also be honest and fess up to commenting to my husband that gee she must have been told to do something about her hair and makeup at long last as it has changed a lot recently but someone needs to get the woman a decent bra. All through the media barrage on the first day I wanted to tell her to straighten her tshirt up (PULL IT DOWN STOP IF BUNCHING AND BAGGING UNFLATTERINGLY) and go get a more supportive/flattering bra as it was bugging me - JUST A pet hate of mine ha ha so I am a humungous hypocrite hey

  13. I'm so very happy that we now have a female Prime Minister. She's actually my local member (and no I didn't actually vote for her which really doesn't matter in such a safe labour seat), but I'm very happy all the same. I'm so sick of the media hype surrounding her choice not to have children. Not every woman in the world wants kids. It's a CHOICE!
    Good on you Julia!

  14. Excellent post Cath! Thanks for articulating my thoughts so well! What an amazing day, I was so thrilled to share this with my kids, my daughters and my son. It's so important for our boys to see a woman in power too. Great post xo

  15. Certainly an historical moment which is to be celebrated (with all your qualifications noted).

    I do have some strong queries about those unequal pay stats though. I abhor unequal pay for doing the same job. But surely the only sector in which that actually happens now is in the unregulated coorporations. But what does it mean that 'in health and community services men earn 25% more'? This stat actually speaks to the fact that more males are in full-time employment, NOT that people doing the same work are paid on different scales. It's illegal to pay different wages. But yes, here are less women working, or working full time - and frequently, this is by choice. If there are children someone needs to raise them and for many families (mine being a case in point) it makes no sense to outsource this aspect of our lives.

    The thing I dislike about these sort of stats is that they make a non-earner like me seem irrelevant because I'm not doing my bit for the equality statistics! But guess what, I'm a feminist AND a housewife!

    So my basic beef is this (and sorry, I had to air it somewhere and your blog is the place right now!) - equal numbers of women in certain jobs and industries is not a true indicator of equality. It shouldn't be. Respect for the different roles that people play in our society - no matter what they earn or whether they earn - would go further towards true equality.

  16. great.... we are all doomed

  17. dear "anonymous" aren't you the brave one? too gutless to tell us all who you are but happy to be a smart arse.

  18. Hear, hear, Cath! I'm just hoping desperately that she gets re-elected! And while I'm not convinced that women in top jobs necessarily equals more awareness of the struggles that normal women face every day, maybe they'll prove me wrong. I hope they do.

  19. don't forget Marie Bashir, the NSW Governor...what interesting times we are living in, especially for our young girls and women, I agree it so matters on that level, and for us as women, young and old, to see so many strong women in powerful positions and know ANYTHING is possible...interesting times indeed

  20. Great post and great comments... remember it's women who really get the job done! You don't want the UK situation where we've got two PMs (effectively) who are both blokes and will not get anything done... properly!

    I don't believe that it shouldn't matter if it's women or men in leadership... at the moment I take the view that it definitely matters because men have had it their way for far too long... check out the matriarchal societies around the world and throughout history - overall there is/has been greater peace and co-operation than within patriarchal 'I'm the top dog' societies.... ah, and breathe!!

    However, I back the sentiment 'Remember Thatcher' cos I grew up under her regime and it wasn't good - AT ALL - she did a lot of damage for the female cause.


what a nice person you are- taking the time to comment in this busy hectic world...Thank you!!