• 22 Feb 2021 11:32 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will be run virtually this year, which means that all of us can access the NGO Forum that’s held in conjunction with CSW each year.

    The Forum will run from 14 to 26 March 2021, but there are online preparatory workshops and training tutorials – some of these are accessible already.  The CSW platform allows BPW members internationally to register and link up with BPW members around the globe and with women from other NGOs.  You will be able to livestream the CSW sessions and join interactive workshops.  There is a parallel Youth Leaders platform that I encourage our Young BPWs to engage with.

    First you need to register as an advocate which is quite easy.  There is a useful 5 minute tutorial for advocates video that shows how and what to access: https://ngocsw65forum.us2.pathable.com/

  • 14 Feb 2021 9:33 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Hon Dr Susan Ryan AO was the first Minister for Women in Australia, and possibly worldwide, and gave us the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984.  Before she died last year, Susan wrote a legacy paper documenting the rise of feminism in Australia and the social and economic revolution for women in the 1970s, building on a 2019 seminar

    Susan was a Minister in a Labor government, and her focus is naturally on the Labor years of 1972-1975. However, she tells a compelling story that was lived for real by many of our longterm BPW members who will find this a stirring read full of the names of women we knew and policy platforms BPW still advocates for.

    For those who weren’t there, this informative report provides means to develop an understanding of the heady days when women's voices were first heard and great strides were made for women's equality.  Although since then we’ve been battling to hold onto those gains and move forward, Susan’s story is positive and uplifting and I commend it to you all. 

  • 07 Feb 2021 11:27 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    In 2018, the EU, UN Women and the ILO joined forces to promote economic empowerment of women at work in G7 countries through the WE EMPOWER-G7 Programme based on the Women's Empowerment Principles. UN Women has collated evidence of emerging practice in the private sector, and of effective policymaking in the public sector into a booklet. It shares stories of innovative and successful women entrepreneurs, governments and companies working together to promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. This video is a resource for clubs to illustrate the value of the WEPs.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how disparities and inequalities persist and grow in health and economic crises.  Working towards gender equality does not cease in the wake of a pandemic. To the contrary, we need to do more, to stand up, speak out and act, which is what WE EMPOWER did and will continue to do. WE EMPOWER helps women achieve financial independence, the key to true freedom and equality.

    Collaborating across sectors is critical in creating change. WE EMPOWER’s partnerships with the private sector is a success story, reporting remarkable progress on gender inclusive policies and increasing commitment to the WEPs. WE EMPOWER’s message of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality is being reiterated around the world, and it will be important to keep it high on the international agenda.

  • 31 Jan 2021 1:17 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    The Centre for Future Work reports that Australia’s labour market experienced unprecedented volatility during 2020 due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession. In early 2020, employment declined faster and more deeply than in any previous economic downturn, as workplaces were closed.  After May, employment rebounded strongly and the subsequent recovery replaced over 80% of the jobs lost in the initial downturn.  But women suffered disproportionate job losses when the pandemic hit, and that gender gap has not been closed during the rebound. Women’s employment, unemployment, underemployment, and participation all remain significantly weaker than for men.

    They report workers in insecure jobs lost work far more severely than those in standard, permanent positions. The rebound of employment has been dominated by insecure jobs. Casual jobs account for 60% of all waged jobs created and part-time work accounts for 75% of new jobs. Women are heavily concentrated in casual and part-time roles, which were more easily eliminated by employers as the pandemic struck.

    The authors recommend that, in addition to supporting the recovery in overall economic conditions (including through continued income supports), government must also improve the quality and stability of new jobs to offset the terribly unequal impacts of the pandemic. They caution that the government is proposing major legal changes that will reinforce the growing dominance of insecure work through the industrial relations omnibus bill introduced in December  which would liberalise casual work (allowing its use in any position deemed casual by the employer), and allow permanent part-time workers to be treated like casual workers (with costless adjustments in hours and schedules), accelerating the surge of insecure work.

  • 24 Jan 2021 9:54 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda is an optimist. She spent 2019 espousing that 2020 was going to be a landmark year for gender equality. Her book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, argues that men usually set policy, but it’s women who drive progress.

    However, the pandemic hit, and disasters always impact women disproportionately. Gender equality advocates braced for a catastrophic wave of shadow pandemics. Women and girls have borne the brunt of the pandemic, but they have also led the fight against it. Women leaders have proved their worth. Women who make up 70% percent of the world’s health workers. Essential workers—predominantly women—are keeping shelves stocked, families supplied, and children safely playing and learning.  We’ve been looking for a breakthrough that heralds a new and more inclusive kind of policymaking. 

    COVID-19 has shown the failures of our social contract with new clarity, and the world is awake to this. Recent international surveys found that 90% of people want the post-pandemic world to be more sustainable and equitable, and for their economies to be more inclusive.  Maybe COVID-19 will be the breakthrough moment.

  • 17 Jan 2021 9:48 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    AMP’s 2020 Financial Wellness report shows 50% of Australians carry some anxiety about their finances, with women more financially stressed than men.

    Ilaine Anderson in Financy looks at the 3 action areas that can help women improve their financial wellbeing and kick 2021 off to a good start. She recommends women:

    • take action to improve our knowledge and understanding of key financial drivers, including superannuation, debt and cashflow management, insurance and basic investment principles, by tapping into online resources
    • take the time to set goals and put a plan in place to achieve them – connecting finances with goals helps us engage with our finances, and then having a plan to achieve these goals can significantly ease stress
    • as employers and leaders, provide female staff with access to online tools and information/education that can be easily accessed at a convenient time and to education programs which help women understand how they can boost their super balances.

  • 07 Jan 2021 5:39 PM | Angela Tomazos (Administrator)

    Last month , the first interim report was released with eS4W as witness to presentation to the Senate Select Committee (Represented by Roselynne Anderson- Chair eS4W and Sharen Page- Coordinator eS4W).

    Highlights in the report that referenced the submission of eS4W summarised below. BPW Australia is a member organisation of eS4W – a National Women’s Alliance.

    A copy of the committee’s first interim report can be accessed here https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/COVID-19/COVID19/Interim_Report/section?id=committees%2freportsen%2f024513%2f73670


    The Grattan Institute's submission found that women were economically worse off when compared to other notable demographic groups,83 while economic Security4Women (eS4W) highlighted that:

    Women have been disproportionately affected during COVID-19. They make up the majority of front-line workers in care, and education and are overrepresented in precarious employment, including in the informal sector, where their benefits and protection are inadequate or lacking.84

    • 84 - economic Security4Women (eS4W), Submission 179, p. 9.


    Failure to incorporate known inequities, such as those in superannuation outcomes, has promoted greater disparity. eS4W asserted in its submission that their analysis of Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and ATO data found women, who already retire with 47 per cent less super than men,89 withdrew 4.5 per cent of their balance on average compared to 2.5 per cent for men accessing the scheme.90

    • 89 eS4W, Submission 179, p. 6.
    • 90 eS4W, Submission 179, p. 7.


    The committee strongly shares the view of eS4W that:

    Moving forward we encourage the Government to apply a gender lens on all policies…

    Women's economic empowerment will be essential if we are to ensure effective and sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 in

    • 95 eS4W, Submission 179, p. 9.

  • 02 Jan 2021 10:05 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    This annual Women’s Health Survey researches the health experiences, needs and behaviours of Australian women. It examines gaps in women’s health information and identifies future health needs of women - as identified by women themselves. It also explores and describes women's current health experiences and behaviours. The snapshot summary reveals that a significant proportion of women in Australia are not receiving the health information and support they need. The report includes the impact of COVID-19 and the bushfires.

    The survey sample was largely English-speaking university-educated women who were born in Australia, weighted for age and education to be more representative of the national population. Too few respondents identified as being from a CALD background or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander so data must be interpreted with caution since it has been reported that CALD women have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

  • 27 Dec 2020 12:37 PM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    Financy produces the Financy Women’s Index – a report card on women’s progress towards economic equality with men in Australia.  Financial vulnerabilities and on-going inequalities faced by many Australian women have been exposed by COVID-19 during 2020. Early in the pandemic, female job losses outnumbered male as key industries went into lockdown, home schooling was introduced and social restrictions were enforced. However as restrictions were eased, female employment growth recovered at a faster rate than male. This finding helped to lift the Financy Women’s Index by 2.2%. We know  wherever gender gaps existed before the crisis, they have persisted during it, and in many ways, women's advancement has circled back in time. The number of women engaged in part and full-time work today is similar to 12 to 18 months ago; the number of women studying post-school educational courses is where it was 2 years ago; the gender pay gap is where it stood this time last year. There is uncertainty about what the gender gap in unpaid work will look like because of COVID-19 and women’s long-term financial security, as measured through superannuation.

  • 21 Dec 2020 8:47 AM | Jean Murray (Administrator)

    At the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women, Hilary Clinton declared that “women’s rights are human rights” and the Beijing Platform for Action laid a powerful and necessary foundation stone for our fight for gender equality.

    French President Emmanuel Macron recently noted: “It’s no secret that, in 2020, the Beijing Declaration would have no chance of being adopted”.

    In 2020, 25 years later, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins delivered the opening address to the Beijing Platform for Action at 25 conference. Her full speech is available here.  She reported that the Beijing documents remain largely aspirational; progress has been slow and some of that progress is under threat. She stressed the need to accelerate our efforts, and be increasingly strategic, if we want to finish the job. 

    As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on throughout the world, countries everywhere are thinking about how to rebuild. The evidence is clear that, if our recovery efforts focus on creating more equal and diverse societies, women, girls and societies as a whole will benefit enormously. 25 years on from Beijing, with many of the economic and social structures we took for granted a year ago now in flux, this is a golden opportunity to reaffirm the spirit of the Beijing documents, and use everything we have learned in the past 25 years to take swift, meaningful leaps forward towards gender equality.

BPW Australia Newsletter Archive

Past editions of BPW Australia's electronic newsletters can be viewed as a PDF - see below.

Current editions of the quarterly e-magazine Madesin can be accessed here.


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2013 December
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