Connie Mckeage

“Women can have it all, we just cannot do it all”

Financial Services Woman of the Year award winner and Onevue CEO Connie Mckeage shares her thoughts on women's progress and unpaid work.

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Australian women are making financial progress – slowly but surely – but like short-term investment returns let’s not take it as an indicator of longer term performance.

More women are entering the workforce, the numbers look great – if you’ve miss the fact that the largest percentage increase is in women over 50.

Why are we entering the workforce later in life? Is it driven by a burning ambition now that we are empty nesters or the fact that we have faced the stark reality that we don’t have enough money to retire?

And don’t get me going about unpaid work. Let’s face it – the majority of women do more work around the house, whether or not they are in paid employment. So what does this all add up to?

Well it’s been a long day and I still need to order the groceries online, the ironing needs to be organised, the dogs fed, and oh right I have pack a suitcase for my interstate trip tomorrow. Yes our household runs like a well-oiled machine – until it doesn’t. Does this sound familiar?

What we don’t see in the numbers is the number of people, especially women who are burning out trying to do it all.

In fact, burnout is becoming so common that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified it as an “occupational phenomenon” and added it to their International Classification of Diseases.

I always look forward to reading the Women’s Index. I want to know what has been achieved in the quarter and I need to see what more we can do to progress faster.

Each time I see the percentage of unpaid work undertaken by women however and I look around me, especially households with younger children, I can’t help but wonder if we have just packed on full time employment on top of our unpaid domestic duties.

If we are to succeed in the work force and increase the percentages of women in management then we need to let go.

Of course women can have it all, we just cannot do it all.

We must learn to delegate the things that really don’t positively impact the quality of our relationships and focus on the things that do.

If we don’t we will be hurt by burnout and burnout affects not only us but also our families, employees, and the companies we work for.

So ladies if you are headed up the ladder look after yourself and get some help. You don’t have to take on the burden of the physical and emotional stress of high levels of unpaid work in addition or instead of employment.

So let’s not only start taking control of our work lives let’s start taking control of our lives. If you need to start with outsourcing the ironing just give me a call – I have the name of a great ironing service, pick up and delivery!

This opinion piece was first published in the Financy Women’s Index for the September quarter. Onevue is a platinum supporter of the Index and women’s economic empowerment.

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