The gender disparity in the work place is colossal. If you imagine trying to fill a hole with sand at half the speed of which it’s being dug deeper, you have a clearer idea of the disproportion of women in the workplace throughout history, and the struggle many of them have faced in their careers.
The idea that men outnumber women in the workplace may seem dormant but it's fact, poetically put it’s a river which annually builds in capacity until bursting its banks for one day on the 8th of March, before soon settling down again into a stream which quickly picks up momentum. In other words, sexual discrimination exists and at the moment, it may seem like society opts to go with the flow, excuse the pun. And for those fighting the gender imbalance, it seems like they are swimming against a very strong current.
I know what many of you are thinking at the moment, Australia experiences gender inequality? But it’s a first world country? Is there no improvement? Is it still even a thing?
Well, let’s call a cube, a cube; gender inequality is a problem, an underlying and complex issue that festers slowly and quietly in society. Underreported and over-experienced, the idea that males dominate not only the business workspace quite handsomely, but command more senior positions and receive higher pay is coined one of the first world’s last remaining problems in its quest for true equality.
It was announced on the radio that there are more board members of businesses in Australia called ‘Peter,’ than women; and as it is International Women’s Day, Spacecubed have decided to dive head first into a quest to defeat the lumbering giant that is sexual discrimination.
It’s certainly not all doom and gloom that’s for sure. In the last 5 years, the number of women in the workplace has doubled. New laws have been passed under the sex discrimination act providing pregnant women greater rights in retaining their positions after maternity leave; and arguably the most important change has been to provide women and men alike, the right to request flexible hours in their mission to parent their offspring.
If there’s a nail, that last legal change certainly hit it on the head - gender discrimination is no longer an issue just for women, and rightly so. Seemingly weighted towards women in title but not in principal feminism is about evening the playing field, breaking down boundaries and smashing the stigma’s.
So how do we do that?
Well, triggered by International Women’s Day on the 8th March annually, we are seeking to continue the endeavours of those championing the cause, and to keep it alive in society’s discourse. Men must be part of the discussion, however first, they must be part of the audience: in other words, it’s vital that society hears the stories of inequality and discrimination shared by those who have experienced it at first hand. Secondly, ‘men should join women in their quest for equality,’ says Elizabeth Broderick, former Sex Discrimination Commissioner. Ms. Broderick, during her time as Sex Discrimination Commissioner created the 'Male Champions of Change;' an organisation uniting men who hold power and influence in Australia to lead the way in improving gender equality.
Growing from six men, to over one hundred, the group is comprised of CEO’s, MD’s and Directors all advocating for the incentivising of fatherhood and encouraging men to take on more parenting responsibilities. Under this scheme, a female employee will receive 150 percent of her salary. The organisation has also championed many other schemes, such as recognising domestic violence as a workplace issue too.
Every year, our poetically described river reduces in capacity and strength, and the damage of its flood is less and less. The idea that gender equality exists seems to be ever more present in society, and change is on its way; albeit slowly. Imagine if you read this during your grandmother’s heyday; what would you have thought about it? Extinguishing gender inequality would seem as unlikely as sending your mates a message on whatsapp colourfully decorated with emoji’s as your fingers caressed the smooth and soft screen of your smartphone. What even is an emoji you’d ask.
But now, we have the ability to lead the way in establishing change, levelling the playing field and sending gender inequality into the archives under the ‘biggest mistakes in history’ pile. At Spacecubed, we have celebrated the successes and vowed to continue the efforts of equality in the workplace, and we encourage you to do it too.
Our women community members posed today by the entrance of our community coworking space as a stand against discrimination, while many of our male members supported their movements on social media. We are also running The Perth Web Girls program which will take place on Saturday 12th March; and Spacecubed are happy to announce the inclusion of over 130 women signing up to the program balancing the gender disparity in the Perth tech scene.
To find out more about Spacecubed’s continued efforts to even the playing field and create an equal coworking environment, contact us.