The winds of change are gently breezing across the traditionally male-dominated corporate Australia. Nearly every day I see more industry initiatives launched, more companies setting targets and quotas, all aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in business life.
So I should be delighted, right? Yes, I should.
But deep down in my gut I still have a niggling doubt.
A fear in the pit of stomach that I wrote about once before here – my concern that while big business races ahead, there are so many other areas of our lives that still have the handbrake firmly on.
For example, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey shows that women still average 16 hours housework a week, more than double the amount of men. The World Economic Forum backs this finding reporting Australian women spend 311 minutes on unpaid work each day – such as housework, caring responsibilities and volunteering – while men spend 171.6 minutes on the same type of work.
But at the same time a recent study conducted by Save the Children Australia shows that while some Australian fathers are actively involved in raising their children, too many describe themselves as “helpers” leaving the day-to-day care of their children to others. Some of the men surveyed in this study claim flexible work arrangements often made available to women were not available to them.
This is something Jen Dalitz (a business consultant who has worked with a number of top-tier firms and blue-chip companies to build gender-balanced workplaces) and I have discussed over endless celery sticks laden with peanut butter while we nut out the structure of a book (or series of papers) we are hoping to write. Practical information focused on what needs to happen to allow real and fast progress of women into senior roles in corporate Australia.
But first we are keen to get a sense of how the social of fabric of our family lives is adjusting as more women step into senior business roles. We’re curious to understand how the amount of support they get on the home front stacks up when compared to a man in a similar position? At the same time, we’re keen to know if men in senior positions are offered the same level of flexibility to allow them to take on their equal share of parental and home duties?
So together we’ve launched a new survey and would love you – and your partner, friends and colleagues – to share your views about today’s work life mix. We’re looking for a broad mix of experiences – so whether or you’re working or not, and whether you have children or not, we want to hear from you.
Can you please help us by sharing your experiences? It will take only five minutes and you can access the link here.
Thanks in advance for your help and if you have any ideas or feedback, we’d love to hear from you.