This is the cover of today’s the (sydney) magazine:
W. T. F?
(Hat tip to ManFriend, who saw it this morning and knew there’d be a blog post in it.)
The shiny doesn’t photograph too well, so here’s a close-up:
You interview the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and run the coverline as what women get wrong? Followed by we rate the most beautiful dishes in Sydney? Wow, talk about common sense fail.
So, what exactly is it that we’re doing wrong? The first page is an intro to Broderick (school, family, law career) and getting men to be a part of the culture change we need to make things better for women and men:
But after a while she thought, “You know what? This isn’t going to change until you get men taking the message of gender equality out to other men. I can bang on as the Sex Discriminiation Commissioner but to have another CEO ring [his network of contacts] and talk about it is going to be much more influential”.
That doesn’t sound like it’s about what women get wrong.
The second page has the first mention of what us silly Sydney women might be doing wrong:
Broderick is positive, overall, about how women in Sydney are faring. Since the Sex Discrimination Act became law in 1984, “we’ve made really significant advances”, she says. Still, March 8 marks the centenary of International Women’s Day, when women began agitating for, among other things, equal pay. “A hundred years later, not only is the pay gap not narrowing, it’s actually widening again,” she says. “It’s out at 16.9 per cent if you look at the national average.”
That women are still being underpaid, almost three decades after it became illegal to discriminate against women, doesn’t strike me as something Sydney women are doing wrong.
She thinks two of the biggest obstacles holding women back now, at least in economic terms, are cultural. The first, which she deals with herself by declaring a “guilt-free zone”, is the belief that a good mother spends all her time with her children. This keeps women out of the workforce and is, in her opinion, simply wrong. “We know it’s so much more nuanced than that.” The second is particularly ingrained in Sydney, where long hours are the norm and people pride themselves on how hard they work. “The ‘ideal’ worker is available 24/7, has no visible caring responsibilities and by extension is usually male,” she says. It’s an assumption that makes it hard for women with children to compete.
Again, that’s not something women are doing wrong. Men are just as embedded in the good mother myth, and it’s not the fault of women that Sydney work culture has an attitude problem that hurts everyone.
Once again, she thinks working mothers need men to help out. Until they, too, work part-time to look after the kids or leave at 3pm to do the school run, women will always be left behind. It’s why she’s committed to improving the provisions for men in the paid parental leave scheme. “They’re the future of attitudinal changes in workplaces.”
I’m sounding like a broken record here. There is nothing in this article on Broderick about what she thinks women get wrong. Until you get to the last page, with Q&As with “six prominent Sydney women on what’s still to be done and where their younger sisters are going wrong”. Sandra Yates (Chair, Sydney Writers’ Festival), Ann Sherry (CEO, Carnival Australia), Catherine Livingstone (Chair, Telstra), Margie Seale (MD, Random House Australia and NZ), Elizabeth Ann MacGregor (Director, MCA) and Lisa Corbyn (Director General, NSW Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Water) were asked two questions:
What are the key issues for women?
What mistakes do you see young women making?
So instead of doing something useful with half a page of prime real estate, in a feature leading up to International Women’s Day, the (sydney) magazine tries to get women attacking women. The six women don’t play, and list “mistakes” that are things young people do, like drinking too much and posting party photos on Facebook that may come back to haunt them. What a waste of an opportunity. The question about the key issues for women should always be followed by, “How do we fix it?”