The newly sworn in Premier is expecting his 7th child, and sixth daughter mind you, which means he must decide; does he step into gender equity developments around parental leave, or does he jump into the occasional family photo, while his dutiful wife picks up the load at home?
As someone who became one of 7 children myself after my father remarried, my money is very much on the latter, particularly when you consider what we know about him thus far:
- He’s highly conservative as a leader, is a staunch Catholic and is not considered progressive on women’s reproductive rights. He appears to live in sync with past traditions and stereotypes and is unlikely to take much if any parental leave to assist his wife with the juggle. If he does take some time out, during the current pandemic, it might be two weeks while aided with the assistance of family or a nanny to support in Brad and Angelina style around the home. His salary should allow for that.
- Then there’s the job of NSW Premier at a time of incredible and constant tension and focus that’s just to do with managing a once in 100 year pandemic, not to mention all the rest which goes with being premier. His voters, myself included, want him to do a good job. But as a parent, he faces those eye-twitching dawn starts with questions around, will you be home to tuck me in.
The gender pay gap in NSW stands at 14.5%, slightly worse that the 14.2% national average and Victoria’s 12%, but better than Queensland (16%) and Western Australia (22%).
Arguably one of the biggest contributing factors to the gender pay gap is the fact that women take more time than men out of the workforce to care for children.
To help address this, large and progressive organisations and champions of change are increasingly calling for men to share the load and take-on primary caring roles in parental leave.
Premier Perrottet certainly has an opportunity to do this, and be a role model that gets all the guys in the chat room saying, ” I don’t know how he does it!”
By showing a commitment to shared parenting, the premier would be helping to break and challenge stereotypes at work, home and in the community, in support of gender equality.
Women’s issues, equality and diversity in the workplace are increasingly being called out as critical issues that are not just good for an organisation’s culture but are good for business outcomes and profitability. Surely we could apply the same thinking to the governance of NSW?
It was only at the start of this year that we saw thousands of people at the March 4 Justice rallies in capital cities, including Sydney in response to claims of sexual abuse and harassment of women in the country.
The federal government has prioritised these issues with its Women’s Summit and Taskforce, and so too has the Victorian and Queensland Government’s which just last month called for submissions on the issues of gender equity and women’s economic security.
NSW has been somewhat focused on these issues and while Gladys Berejiklian was in power, but now, there is this feeling that we are on the precipice of going back to role modelling the dark ages on gender equality grounds in NSW. I hope that I am wrong.