Happy International Women's Day

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Today is international women’s day, “International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Womens_Day, Accessed: 8th of March, 2012)

There were events here in the Blue Mountains today and tomorrow, however it is freezing here so have not ventured out, other than taking the kids to playgroup. It seems to have gotten colder from earlier today, or do I just need another hot tea? So please celebrate the day of women today and all female achievement. Be kind to your mother, sister, and other female relatives.

Today is also my Aunties birthday so that is a great day to have a birthday, wished her a great day and will see her for a family get together on the weekend, really looking forward to that.

Now onto the topic of empowering women; Women have made great strides forward, working, education, having bank accounts, voting, credit cards, not having to get married, able to purchase their own property, and much more.

However there are still some things that I feel have not changed.

1. The fact that a woman still does all or the majority of the housework. This happened before I had kids and I still do it. Although I was never good in this department

2.  If you are female and in child baring years then some people don’t hire you due to the risk associated if you get pregnant and go on maternity leave. Some women will never have kids, some will and work as well, some will have kids and not go back to work for a variety of reasons.

Only on the 5th of March it has been reported in news.com.au, that Virgin Blue has discriminated against female employees. This was due to the fact that they had children and wanted to return to their roles after their maternity leave. The ladies in this case were told that their positions were no longer available and made redundant. Basically, they were sacked and the company hired a new person to replace these women.

3. Told at university that as you are female you will get underpaid, this happened this year. There was an article about a Veterinary Student at Sydney University and she was told that as a graduate she would not earn what her male peers earn. What a terrible thing to be told. Why belittle a woman or anyone’s experience or skill due to sex alone. Why is this accepted in a teaching institution and in the world still? We are living in 2012 not 1950, or the 1900’s.

Below is a quote from Ms Daymond:

”When I graduated, starting salaries seemed to be definitely in favour of males and historically it had always been that way,” she said. ”We were told that we’d be earning $10,000 a year less than men, which was a bit disheartening. No one really told us why, so it was something we had to fight to equalise it a bit.” After all, more than 80 per cent of those now studying veterinary science are women.” (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/salary-gap-female-graduates-get-ahead-20120205-1qzsj.html, Accessed: 8th March, 2012)

4. No flexible roles to allow educated and women who want to work, who have a family. These women are mainly the primary care takers and have the responsibility for taking kids to school, picking them up and so on. With all the technology, why is it that the only role is in the office full time? Why cannot you have a job that is say 2 days a week in the office and other days you can do the work when you can fit it in to your day. I know this issue is not only for women, more flexible roles are not available for all really.  I would have thought that it would be more cost effective to have employees work remotely. However, the thought from the employer is how do I make sure they do the work? Are these employees trustworthy? Are they going to abuse the privilege? I think with this day and age of different work types and places you can work thanks to the computer, mobile, and tablets, why not?  If these people don’t perform you can fire them if they don’t meet targets.

How do the above help the young girls soon to be women in our society?

I have 2 wonderful, smart, creative, beautiful girls. I want them to be able to do anything they put their minds to.  It does not matter what they end up doing, as long as they enjoy it and do it well.

Why is it acceptable in 2012 to tell a woman/girl that they will get underpaid due to their sex? You may as well say don’t try. Don’t go to school and be good at anything. It makes me so angry that this still happens. If this was said to a man/boy, I am sure it would be a completely different story. Men would tell you to go shove it. Why is it not o.k. for women to do the same?  If it was left to these men to hire women, then they would not ever work. The world has a population with over half of it women. We would be in a very bad place if we just rewarded men and did not hire or promote women.  The whole idea of saying in university that women will get less pay is buying into this inequality of the sexes. Roles should be paid according to skills, education, and fit in the workplace (how you fit in with the culture, leader or manger and so on, how you are valued at your place of work), sex to determine pay or a future outcome that might never happen, like children is just ridiculous.

A male friend who I was commenting on the above issue thinks that there is no issue in under paying women who might have children, or not. I asked why he felt this way and he said that employers were mitigating risk, Risk of women having children and leaving their organisation. Mind you some women don’t want kids or never have kids for whatever reason.

I would have loved to have still been working, however we have no family near us, child care places are very expensive, and as we have 2 kids have to times it all by 2. I would have to commute to the city, so it would be a long day. No day care centre is up when I would need them, so I would have to hire a nanny. Now that the kids are in pre-school, I would have to have someone to drop them off and pick them up, stay with them until I get home, or at least till their daddy is home.

The wage that I could earn would be good, however all would be eaten away by the nanny, and care takers for the kids. I would be racing everywhere for work, racing home, and racing to schools, and by the time I got home, I would be exhausted.  So if there was a role that worked a couple of days at the office, even part time, then the rest of the week at home and during the evening, that is something that I can do now. Other options currently I cannot do as I don’t have the cash or the help.

I want to empower my girls to get the best education so that they can soar to the highest height of their career, I want them to be financially independent, to own their property by the time they are 18 so they have an asset, and make them understand that the world is their oyster. I do understand that some of these things might not happen, and that is fine (like the property one and it depends on the strengths and interests of the child where they will end up) however I think that it is a damn shame, that we are in 2012 and we are still dealing with getting underpaid, and discrimination just due to our sex.

What are your thoughts on empowering girls if you have them? Why do you think that this mindset is still around that women should be underpaid? I for one think that if we have less time in the workforce due to looking after kids we should be paid more.  Please send in your comments and thoughts.

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