Welcome to BroadAgenda
Given my unhealthy preoccupation with the letter ‘b’, I promise this will be my last. So let me be blunt. The gender equality project is in serious danger of stalling, and in some quarters showing signs of regression.
While the forward march of women’s progress around the globe is welcomed by many, there are those who fear change and who are organsing to resist. The lessons of the early part of this century reveal that social, economic and environment reforms we assumed to be entrenched are, once again, open to public contest. The rise of populist conservative movements in western democracies threaten to undo policy advances, under the rubric of attacking political correctness – and all that is ‘elite’.
Closer to home, a growing ‘diversity fatigue’ and misguided assumptions around meritocracy in government and the public sector are threatening to dismantle decades of gender equity scaffolding. While a lack of progress on the home front, and the vastly unequal distribution of unpaid work in Australian households remain stubborn barriers to women’s emancipation.
Here at the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, under the auspices of the Institute for Governance and Policy Anlaysis (IGPA), we believe it will take a concerted effort by men and women with broad experience and expertise to consolidate hard won gains. And to rise to the challenge of a gender equality backlash.
Our bold new blog, BroadAgenda, has been created to feed a growing audience hungry for quality research and informed argument around the gendered nature of power, leadership and authority. We aim to build a bridge between academic research ‘silos’ and mainstream media, with a focus on public discourse.
There is very little that doesn’t come under our blog radar, but the difference between BroadAgenda and other research centre or think-tank outputs is that we apply a gender lens to all our subjects. And our inaugural blog posts, launched on International Women’s Day 2017, are testament to that!
While numerous reports focus on Australia’s unemployment rates, we take NATSEM research and examine those most at risk and rarely discussed – mature aged women workers who are underemployed. Our landmark IGPA report on the barriers to women’s progress in the Australian Public Service is highlighted in video discussion with the report’s lead authors. We sit down with the University of Canberra’s Vice Chancellor to dissect gender equality and his personal experience of ‘bias’ that was far from ‘unconscious’.
In Nepal we examine how gender quotas are causing seismic cultural shifts. We dissect the merits of the Women’s March in the US; the gender politics behind TV taunts; the dynastic nature of female leadership in the Philippines; the economic empowerment of poor women in Fiji; and ask some hard questions about academic life in Australia and why women are sidelined. And that’s just for starters!
We’ll add blogs, interviews and the occasional piece of commentary to BroadAgenda throughout the week. Hopefully, in time, you’ll share our passion for all things ‘broad’ and bookmark our blogs. You can also subscribe to our NewsBrief for a weekly update of who’s doing what in the gender equality space.
On behalf of all of us at BroadAgenda, welcome aboard! We hope you are enriched by the journey.
Virginia Haussegger, Chief Editor