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work + family « Previous | |Next »
January 19, 2007

Julia Gillard, the deputy leader of the ALP, stated recently that it was much harder for women with children to rise to the top in politics. She ius reported as saying in the Bulletin that:

‘If Peter Costello genuinely thought about it, could he be the mother of three children, be Treasurer for more than a decade and be next in line to be Prime Minister? Could John Howard have been a mother to his children as opposed to a father and be in the position he is in today? The frank answer is, no’.

A truism I would have thought, despite conservative raving on about Gillard being anti-male, or causing businesses to go bankrupt. Gillard is asking John Howard and Peter Costello to reflect to themselves: to ask could they be where they today and have been born a woman; to reflect on how there are still more challenges for women and particularly women who are trying to balance work and family and work and family in stressful jobs that require a lot of travel.

GillardA.jpg
Bill Leak

Most, though not all, of those woman who have succeeded in politics have done so after their children have grown up. So if women are to participate in the workforce then we need a substantive child care policy:

Gillard went on to say that in terms of making work and family fit together better that:

...the reality is that politics, like a lot of our workplaces, at the moment is pretty unforgiving when it comes to helping people balance work and family life. What we have got to do at all levels of our society and in all of our workplaces, including the political workplace, be looking for creative ways to help women and men, mums and dads balance up work and family responsibilities.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:37 AM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

I like the dog eying the leg...nice touch

I hope Gillard runs hard on this issue for the next decade or two. It's very important. And it's not just child-care that's required. It's flexible work arrangements. One of the admittedly, many reasons, Latham crashed out was his status as father of two small kids.

More-than-very-part-time parents are under-represented in positions of power. This does not have to be the case.

wbb,
yes the ALP Labor is onto a good thing by considering extending unpaid maternity leave provisions from one year to two years and introducing a scheme to accommodate part-time return-to-work options. The increasing casualization of the workforce does not help to achieve a good work/ balance balance. Women need good part-time work if they do not have house-husbands willing to provide the support required.

Presumably the key here is flexibility. But there is very little flexibility for mothers-to-be who are in the work force

Thank you for the wise analysis of the issue. Being a tertiary-eduacated solo parent, I am only just starting to ramp up my career - 13 years after commencing uni. Even if you have support, it is difficult to achieve, mainly because of the expectations (your own and others) and the accident of biology.

Diane,
yes it is very difficult, especially for women who are single parents. What is desperately needed is good flexible, part time work or job sharing so that woman can work during the hours their children are at school.