Reinventing Work For Women

The biggest change in Australian society in the last twenty years is between the sexes.
So says Hugh Mackay in Reinventing Australia.
This change has “left Australian women with a radically new view of their role and status in society, and Australian men with a sense of uncertainty about how to respond to the revolution.”
Many of the implications for organisations like World Vision are still to be discovered.
There are many barriers that mean women contribute unequally with men. Some of these barriers are invisible.
Let me give just one example.
The other day I was at an evening function with Professor David Penington, Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
Around a big square of tables sat 17 chief executives. I could not help commenting, during the open discussion, that there were no women present.
This prompted the professorial observation that the women’s revolution had been the result of the Pill. The control of fertility enabled women to participate in the work force.
This is true as far as it goes, but the future re-invention of work needs to go much beyond this.
We need to see that the Pill did not remove a barrier to women’s full involvement, it merely provided a way to climb over.
Not until we reinvent work so that it fits the needs of women shall we be acting with justice.
Not until we accept pregnancy and child-nurturing as a fact to be taken into account in organisational design, shall we be truly responding with fairness.
I look forward to the report from the consultants who are presently looking at these issues within World Vision Australia.
It should be challenging reading!

Myths

Board Chair, David Jenkin, showed me a quote recently.
“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clich├ęs of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
“Mythology distracts us everywhere.”
John F. Kennedy in “Commencement Address,” Yale University, 11 Jun 1962.
We face myths every day in our work. You will recognise these:
The poor are unhappy.
Our experience is that the poor are neither more nor less happy than the rest of us. Truth is we are often surprised to find so much joy among the poor. That’s a comment on us and how much our happiness is tied up with money.