Sunday 25 February 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

No Longer Just A Man’s World

No Longer Just A Man’s World <br><br>

Women thrive in male-dominated workplaces. We need them in our halls of power.

As I work in a male-dominated sector myself, I was heartened to see more discussions about what women face in what have been seen as long-standing male occupations and industries at this year’s PSA/CPSU NSW Women’s Conference.  

Our new Women’s Council Chair, Leanne Smith, for example, works at Ausgrid, which is 84 per cent male. Women account for only two per cent of employees in the field. 

Despite the male dominance in Ausgrid’s workforce, Ms Smith was able to push for stillbirth leave to be included in the Ausgrid Enterprise Agreement.

This is impressive work, as one of the biggest problems facing women in male-dominated occupations is not having issues of importance to female workers taken seriously by management and even colleagues.

There is another male-dominated workplace that needs changing: our parliamentary chambers. The NSW lower house has among the worst levels of female representation among state and federal legislative bodies. The lower house – the Legislative Assembly – is where the government of the day is formed, so it is vital that more women are elected to this chamber.

It should come as no surprise then, that your union’s proposal to have superannuation paid on the unpaid portion of parental leave was largely ignored by the State Government. This is despite the fact this proposal would have helped reduce the massive gender difference in men’s and women’s superannuation balances on retirement.

This is why so many women members are denied real, permanent, full-time jobs that pay substantial wages.

The recent federal election delivered a large increase in women sitting in the House of Representatives, including an impressive nine of the 10 independent crossbenchers. However, just 11 of the Coalition’s 48 MPs in the lower house are women, with a paltry two caucusing with the National Party.

While there is a higher ratio of Coalition women in the Senate, they are still outnumbered by men.

Improvements for women in the workplace require more women in power. Our party structures need to give women more winnable seats to make sure this happens.

Improvements for women in the workplace require more women in power

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