Julia Gillard – Making a Difference for Australian Women
Julia Gillard, is to be congratulated for becoming Australia’s first female head of the nation. This is a great prospect for all women in Australia. As women now hold the positions of Prime Minister, Governor General, Premier of New South Wales and Queensland, Deputy Premier of New South Wales, New South Wales Governor, State Governor of Queensland and the Lord Mayor of Sydney , it is evident that the Glass Ceiling in Australia is penetrable. Although the rate of progress of women in to leadership positions in Australia is slow and uneven it is evident that in the highest offices of the land, women are leading, and achieving in portfolios of immense national and international significance.
It is envisaged that Gillard’s leadership will achieve a difference for all women. While it is acknowledged that Gillard faces in the immediate future some key issues in relation to the Mining Tax, Emissions Trading and Asylum Seekers, it is hoped that key issues which concern women which the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW) has been outlining since April 2010 through its Women’s Pre-election Analysis Panel will also be addressed in the not too distant future. Issues of concern which have been raised by the Panel include child care, eliminating violence against women, elder abuse, health and progressing the status of women with disabilities and women as carers. Pay equity remains a major issue of concern for women. There are still significant earnings gaps between men and women in Australia. Australia ranked 60th out of 130 countries in wage equality for similar work in the 2009 Global Gender Gap Report[ 2].
The Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW) pays tribute to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for his notable achievements, in particular for legislating Australia’s first universal paid parental leave scheme and for the nation’s apology to the Stolen Generation.
As women look forward to Prime Minister Gillard’s forging a new period of women’s leadership in Australia, we are confident that Gillard who has demonstrated that she stands for equity will advance the status of women in Australia and take decisive measures to address areas of systemic inequity in Australian workplaces.
Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey
Founder, Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW)
[ 1] One of the key findings in EOWA’s 2008 Australian Women in Leadership Census was that women hold 8.3% of Board Directorships in the ASX200 companies (125 seats out of 1,505) which compares with 8.7% (129 out of 1,487) reported in the 2006 Census and 8.2% (119 out of 1,456) reported in 2004. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace (EOWA), 2008 Australian Census of Women in Leadership, Canberra: ACT.[ 2] Hausmann, R., Tyson, L., & Zahidi, S., The Global Gender Gap Report 2009, World Economic Forum