Published by the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra


Research and Stories through a Gendered Lens

BroadAgenda Wraps the Week: Women scream; Men bag $$; the PM ‘fixes the highway’!

Jun 19, 2020 | News

It’s hard to know where to start when trying to wrap this week. I’m not sure what is causing me most heartache. Politics, thuggery or insult.

Early in the week it was the putrid stench of male ego, as an unedifying display of testosterone driven “corruption” and branch stacking among ALP kingmakers and power brokers splashed across headlines. And yes, I’m calling this out as male behaviour – because it is.

Of course, women too can get down and dirty when fuelled by stupid ambition – no gender has a monopoly on stupidity. But the Somyurek-Byrne fiasco highlights the sort of systemic male bullying that not only pervades Labor politics but, it would seem, controls it. It speaks of a culture where the winners and Leaders turn a blind eye, as women are referred to as an awful piece of work” or, more bluntly, as a “rat***er”.

That was Monday, by Tuesday we’d returned to the PM’s fascination with roads and construction as the ideal solution to problems – including pregnancy!

When asked by Alicia Payne MP if he was concerned about women giving birth on the side of the Barton Highway – in their failed one-hour dash to reach hospital – the Prime Minister replied that’s why we’ve committed $150 million dollars to upgrade the Barton Highway.”

Screenshot 2020 06 19 17.57.18I didn’t make that up. That is truly what he said. Not, we’ll spend $150m on creating local maternity services for the Yass Valley. But instead – we’ll fix the road! So … what? Women in labour can travel faster?

Whilst utterly inappropriate as an answer, it was a rather fascinating insight to the PM’s default thinking.

Later in the week it was all about jobs… and the ‘disappeared’ unemployed.

The latest ABS data shows 835,000 jobs have been lost since March, yet only a quarter of that number (211k) has been added to the official unemployment figure (now 7.1%).

So, why would more than 600,000 people just ‘drop out’ of the labour market? According to this explainer by the ABC:  

“Because they may have become too discouraged to look for work, or they’ve been unable to work because they’ve been forced into an unpaid caring role at home.”

You know where this is heading don’t you? Women. And young people. Both are losers here, but women are the biggest losers.

In a nutshell, the so (mis)-called ‘Pink Recession’ is looming, as women clearly shoulder the greatest whack to the workforce. More women than men have lost jobs during the pandemic, and among those who have clung on to jobs but lost rostered hours, again it is women who are the biggest losers – 11.5 hours lost compared to men’s 7.5 hours.


Our carefully curated list of the week’s best Gender News kicks off with a quick must read summary by Annabel Crabb of an “electrifying” new report from WGEA.

With data collated over 6 years the report provides solid gold evidence that increasing the rate of women in business leadership increases profit: female CEO’s increase market value by 5 percent, or an average $80million dollars; and a 10 percent increase in women in the Executive team results in $105million dollar increase.

Screenshot 2020 06 19 18.04.29Interesting to see the UK clamping down on Japan’s all male led companies. This form of corporate punishment will hurt. But will it spread beyond Japan to Australia? After all, a third of companies reporting to WGEA have no women on their boards. Yes. One third!

With debate about slavery front of mind this week, what about modern slavery? Forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage are all insidious components of Australia’s current slave trade, as Alexandra Baxter explains in The Conversation.

The US Supreme Court ruling on Monday that bans employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is still being celebrated across the States and indeed the world. Whereas Melania Trump’s “celebration” of 100 years of women’s suffrage, was a little less a celebration and more a hollow PR stunt.Screenshot 2020 06 19 18.06.07

That said, I love a good stunt. And this week’s ‘mass scream’ in Switzerland over domestic violence and gender pay gap didn’t disappoint!


To end – another scream. Screamingly funny. I think?!!Screenshot 2020 06 19 18.10.26Some of The Donald’s friends want to Make Women Great Again”. Their $2,000 a seat conference is billed as The most pro-Woman event on the planet earth”, the “100% pure male speakers” will instruct women on how to avoid “toxic bullying feminist dogma and go against your ancient biological nature as a woman.”

I am so going to this! And I’m taking my Swiss gal pals with me!!


Have a gentle, restful and peaceful weekend.

And happy reading!


Highlighted article

Other highlighted articles

Casting a gender lens over the upcoming Federal Budget

Casting a gender lens over the upcoming Federal Budget

The upcoming Federal Budget will spark much talk of surpluses and deficits, costs of living and inflation, taxes and jobs. Beyond the headline announcements and standard statistics, get ready to look for the finer details of a gender analysis on all new policy...

The surprising way your gender influences your food choices

The surprising way your gender influences your food choices

Back when I worked as a bartender, I always found it interesting how men and women tend to gravitate towards different drinks. The more time I spent behind the bar, the more I came to understand how even something as simple as our beverage preferences are surrounded...

The history of the female side-hustle

The history of the female side-hustle

Living on a farm in regional Australia and about to welcome another child to our family unit, I was contemplating what my future commute to Sydney for my state government job would look like. It was 2019, the year before Covid, and before working from home became the...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This