Women of Australia, this is our time to speak up 30



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The G20 bought about some important discussions – climate change, healthcare, education, defence, welfare and less covered in the media, gender equality. The G20 leaders actually committed to reducing the gap between male and female workforce participation rates by 25%.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon highlighted the huge role female workforce participation can play in promoting global growth and a report created for the summit by the OECF, ILO, World Bank and IMF supported this. It is believed that just a 6% increase in female workforce participation would correlate to an increase of about $25 billion to the Australia Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It makes a sense to increase female workforce participation, but we need to sit back and ask the question, why aren’t more of us working? What are the things really stopping us? When we were growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to have a full time stay-at-home Mum and a working Dad. But as a nation we have moved past that. In fact, now most mothers and women are working because they quite simply have no other choice in order to financially get by.

When we were coming through, the workplace wasn’t a female friendly place. I think back to my early days in the typing pool and I think of the smokey offices, the snide remarks to myself and the other “office girls” as well as the crude talk. It was very much a man’s world – but thanks to harassment laws there is no more of that.

Yes we have maternity leave and yes many women still want to remain out of the workforce for the first few years of motherhood, but surely this can’t make up the current workforce participation gap. It is more common for women to retire earlier as many of you reading this will know, but surely this doesn’t make up a huge portion of the gap either.

So why aren’t we working? Furthermore, what will really help women to get into the workforce? We have so many generations of young women who are education, motivated and inspired who want to work – so what can we do to help them? We went through it all, the times when it was bad to the times when we had the protection of anti-harassment policies and legal protection. And it is our stories, our own feelings and experiences that could hold the clues to creating a working culture in Australia.

Today we want to know what your experience in and out of the workforce has been like… What encouraged you to work? What did the opposite? What were the best working environments and what were the worst? What would you like to see future generations of women have to support them through employment?



Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Motivation is not the issue for older women or men either for that matter, Abbott may want the retirement age to be 70 years old but employers are saying NO. Older people have been accused of retiring on the $280 a week Newstart payment and of becoming grey nomads or worse yet couch lizards. The truth of it is, no one retires on that small amount of money..it barely covers the rent and the charities are over loaded with people barely surviving

  2. Management in the workforce has been taken by the young generation and when we go for a job interview, none of them will give a 50 plus a chance to get the job, if you go through a panel interview , 4 out of 5 interviewer will be in their twenties !!!! Duhh !! What chance do we have ??!! Reason behind it , we’ve got the experience, quality of work, loyalty, care for the work itself and good attitude, respect for others and everything else and they can only give one thing they are good at and that’s ” technology” which is taking over the work place. Many of us now are techno savvy but not as witty as the new gen and we all have noticed now, they will always find a way of making fun of our generation . So who do you think will give us a job Mr .Abott ?????

    1 REPLY
  3. This LNP Government seems to have it in for the boomers, I wonder sometimes if an older kid when they were young pinched their school lunch and they are still carrying a grudge today. Older people want work, employers choose to hire younger people, Nobody wants to live in poverty for years before they retire and Newstart is below the poverty line.

  4. Older people are seen to have a use by date. Even when it comes to life saving surgery doctors will try to avoid operating on the elderly. Now they give you all sorts of reasons for not operating, and those reasons seem plausible, but the hidden truth. Your old and a waste of money and resources. If the so called compassionate medical profession treat the elderly like this, what hope do we have of twenty something managers respecting age let alone hiring it.

  5. I am professionally qualified with 2 Masters degrees and plenty of broad ranging experience, but focus is on ‘Early career academics’ (ie those who can be convinced to undertake a PhD). Now why would I want to do that at 60+? Clearly experience is worth nothing! So, I do the low level, low paid work that no one else wants to do.

  6. Just finishing a temp assignment at 64. Wanted to keep working but they need people with “resilience” . Just another word for too old. It is so hard to prove that age is why you don’t get a job, but the look on the face tells it all. At least I have made it further my working life than a lot of others.

    1 REPLY
    • I was in temp work until 64 also, but then had a knee replacement and had several months of physio. After that, I decided not to bother because I knew going back into the workforce was going to be hard. They just don’t want us “oldies”.

  7. It’s a sad reality but unless you are able to keep up with technology and are healthy at 55 plus our use by date arrives and we become redundant… Getting a job in older age is tough…. As previously stated panels on interview are usual lay younger people or you simply don’t meet their expectations…. But it all comes down to health and age…. When things go wrong with aging then your body simply won’t let you get on with he job no matter how your brain functions…. Retirement is sometimes forced soon us…. Our political leaders have a misconception of reality if they think all people can retire at 70 …, our bodies are not built to last forever…. And the young need employment to survive too… So in older Australians who keep jobs into their older age are also preventing a younger person of employment as well…. And a future… We need to retain retirement it’s part of life cycle and meets the needs of society so employment can rotate through the person best for the the job…. Just saying ….

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  8. In my case I just couldn’t physically do the job any more!
    I’ m a trained vet nurse and I have worked in all facets of the job but fighting with 70kg dogs and working with large animals and never getting a break paid a toll on my body! So now I keep the hearth fires burning and My hubby is happy about it! Mind I am getting bored so I am in the process of starting my own business as I felt I was contributing to deforestation all by my self the amount of resumes I was sending out

  9. It’s so unfair people over fifty cannot obtain work and newstart is not enough to pay rent, week below the poverty line.

  10. For young women with children, I imagine it would be difficult trying to juggle everything with family demands…part time work is the obvious answer, which I did for many years…also fitting in school pickups, ballet lessons, netball, scouts and brownies etc! Oh, and the extra needs of a disabled child! Perhaps a more flexible workplace is one if the options which would give someone else the opportunity to job share.Even older people would find it easier to work part time, after all there is another job waiting for you at home!!

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