Gender News

Here's a snapshot of some of what we've been reading this week ... 

June 19-25

June 19-25

  1. The law is a man’s world. Unless the culture changes women will continue to be talked over, marginalised and harassed. The Conversation. 25 June.

Sexual harassment in the legal profession is longstanding, and has proven an intractable problem in its incidence, reporting and effects. Nearly half of all female lawyers in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific report being sexually harassed at work.

2. ‘Beggars belief’: Women’s Office excluded from talks on $150m scheme to boost females in sport. The Guardian. 24 June.

The department responsible for advising the prime minister on women’s policy was excluded from consultations about a $150m program to improve female participation in community sports that was subsequently caught up in the sports rorts saga.

3. As Trump slumps, his campaign fixes on a target: women. Washington Post. 23 June.

Just 4½ months from the election, an already historic partisan gender gap appears to be solidifying, with Biden enjoying a 23-point lead over Trump among female voters, up from the 14-point edge for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

4. The British Government forced universities to narrow the gender pay gap. This made it worse. Reason. 23 June.

The United Kingdom passed a law in 2010 that required public institutions, including universities, to eliminate gender discrimination in their organizations. New research suggests that the method many universities adopted to reduce gender pay disparities has had, if anything, the opposite effect.

5. High Court inquiry finds former Justice Dyson Heydon sexually harassed associates. SMH. 22 June.

Former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon, one of the nation’s pre-eminent legal minds, sexually harassed six young female associates, an independent inquiry by the court has found.

6. The future of work isn’t what people think it is. NYTimes. 24 June.

When we look to the future of work, we’re fixated on robots replacing humans — in either a dystopian serfdom or a utopia where we have so much leisure time, we can finally learn the violin. But neither story is rooted in reality. The work force that powers our economy today — in times of stability and in crisis — is a low-wage service work force that is disproportionately made up of black women and other women of color, and largely unprotected by our safety net.

7. Raising Baby Grey explores the world of gender neutral parenting. The New Yorker. 24 June

The first piece of information parents tend to receive about who their child will be—often, as with the gender-reveal crowd, before birth—is the shape of the child’s genitals. This moment of discovery can mark the beginning of a lifelong process of gender socialization. In a new New Yorker Documentary, two Bronx parents attempt to mitigate this risk by raising their baby in a gender-neutral manner, with the intention of allowing their child to choose a gender whenever the child feels inclined to do so.

8. What’s really behind the gender gap in COVID deaths? NY Times. 24 June.

More men than women are dying of Covid-19. The numbers are striking. In Italy, men in their 50s died at four times the rate of women in their 50s. Globally, twice as many men than women may be dying of Covid-19. But when in doubt look at social factors first, not biology.

9. It’s 10 years since Australia got its first female Prime Minister. How diverse is our parliament? SBS. 24 June.

On 24 June 2010, Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia’s 27th – and first female – prime minister. But a decade on, gender equality in politics has some way to go.

10. Women from all sides tell Kate Ellis what really happens in politics. SMH. 21 June.

When former federal minister Kate Ellis began interviewing peers from all sides of politics about their experiences of sexist treatment as parliamentarians, some confounded her expectations.

11. Coronavirus has prompted both men and women to do more housework — and nobody's happy about it. ABC. 20 June.

The gender gap between men and women has narrowed during the coronavirus crisis — but not in a good way, with both genders now more unhappy with their domestic workload.

12. Young women are hit doubly hard by recessions, especially this one. The Conversation. 19 June.

We are entering our first pink-tinged recession. The official unemployment figures released on Thursday confirmed that female work has has been more heavily impacted than male work. Since February 457,517 women have lost their jobs and 380,737 men.


Gender News, 12-18 June

1. World-first research shows female CEOs boost companies by $80m on average. ABC. 19June.

New Australian research has established direct proof for the first time that companies do better when they appoint more women to leadership positions.

2. Forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage: Modern slavery in Australia hides in plain sight. The Conversation. 18 June.

Relatively speaking, modern slavery is rare in Australia. Perhaps a few thousand people fit the strict definition, compared with about 40 million globally. But every number is the story of a human being. Their stories are, however, rarely heard as modern slavery in Australia remains largely invisible.

 3. The PM’s solution for women giving birth on the side of the road: upgrade the highway. Women’s Agenda. 18 June.

The Prime Ministers response to a question about birthing services in the Yass valley must be one of the more egregiously contemptuous responses ever to be spoken on the floor of our Parliament.

4. Parental leave tweaks boost flexibility but fail gender equality test. SMH. 17 June.

Families expecting a baby had a win last week when Parliament passed laws to make paid parental leave more flexible. Too bad though if the mother lost her job in the COVID-19 lockdown or is a high-earning breadwinner with a male partner who wants to stay home.

5. Women’s sport dominates list of Australia’s favourite teams. The Guardian. 16 June.

Australia’s favourite sporting teams are dominated by women. Research shows women’s cricketers are most loved. The Matildas, Diamonds and rugby sevens team also rate highly

6. Almost 90% of astronauts have been men. But the future of space may be female. The Conversation. 16 June.

Women in many ways are ideal astronauts. Physical strength and height are not advantages in microgravity. Women use less food and oxygen, maintain their weight better on restricted diets, and create less waste. In other words weightlessness is a great equaliser.

7. Japan’s all male boards face rejection by foreign investors. Nikkei Asian Review. 16 June.

There is growing pressure on Japanese companies from foreign institutional investors over the dearth of women in top roles.

8. The Supreme Court win for transgender women is a win for all women. Slate. 15 June.

The stereotypes that often limit transgender women at work are the very same ones that often limit women at work more generally. The recent Supreme Court ruling is not only a win for transgender rights but also a win for women’s place in the workplace.

9. Recovery ‘once in a generation’ chance to fix gender equity. AFR. 15 June

The economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix key structural obstacles to women’s participation in the workforce, including those posed by the childcare and industrial relations systems, a research paper says.

10. First Lady Melania Trump Announces National Youth Art Project on Women's Suffrage. Time. 15 June.

First Lady Melania Trump has unveiled a new exhibit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women in the US the right to vote.

11. Women stage mass scream in Switzerland over domestic violence and gender pay gap. The Guardian. 15 June.

Thousands of marchers screamed for a minute at 3.24pm – the time of day when women in effect start working without pay.

12. What the pandemic reveals about the male ego. NYTimes. 13 June.

It’s not that the leaders who best managed the virus were all women. But those who bungled the response were all men, and mostly a particular type: authoritarian, vainglorious and blustering. 


Gender News, 5-11 June

  1. With 100 days to go, can Jacinda Ardern maintain her extraordinary popularity. The Conversation. 11 June.

The popularity of Jacinda Ardern and her government is higher than for any party since the advent of the Mixed Member Proportional electoral system. With 100 days until the election how much will that lead erode by and for what reasons?

2. Feminists like JK Rowling struggle with the transgender movement but they should not be silenced. SMH. 11 June.

JK Rowling set off a massive row when she suggested transgender activism is "erasing the concept of sex". It put her at odds with actor Daniel Radcliffe says transgender women are women. 

3. She won’t be right mate: How the government shaped a blokey lockdown followed by a blokey recovery. The Conversation. 11 June.

Liberal and National party women need to get into parliament at the same rate as their male peers and stop allowing themselves to be divided and ruled. They get policies affecting women in the paid workforce back on track.

4. Female leaders absent from global response to coronavirus. The Independent. 10 June.

The charity CARE International surveyed 30 countries and found that on average women made up only 24 per cent of national response committees.

5. Jacinda Ardern Dancing Over NZ Being Coronavirus-Free Has Become A Wholesome New Meme. Junkee. 10 June.

YouTuber GCSBro mashed-up Jacinda Ardern’s “little dance” when she heard NZ was virus free with a key scene from romantic comedy Love, Actually.

6. The Coalition dishes out jobs for the boys while women carry the coronavirus economic burden. The Guardian. 10 June.

The end of free childcare is just the latest measure that disadvantages women in the Australian labour market. 

7. JobKeeper for childcare out, renovations in. ABC. 9 June.

Recessions, by definition, have a lot of red ink. But the COVID-19 smash-up is already looking like the "pink" recession, with women disproportionately affected by the shutdowns.

8. Marcia Langton, Ming Long, Naomi Milgrow: Why only 41% of gongs go to women. Women’s Agenda. 9 June.

Forty-one per cent of the Queens Birthday Honours have gone to women this year, marking an improvement on previous years but showing we still have a way to go for gender equality.

9. A woman is beheaded and Iran asks if women have a right to safety. NYTimes. 7 June.

The so-called honor killing of a 14-year-old girl in Iran has shaken the country and forced an examination of its failure to protect women and children.

10. No longer a private matter: Employer held responsible for family violence. Brisbane Times. 7 June.

The NSW Supreme Court has ruled an employer can be held responsible for family violence when staff work from home, thrusting the issue onto the workplace agenda.

11. Why a gender gap lies between Trump and a second term. Washington Post. 6 June.

Since more women than men tend to vote, the U.S. gender gap would seem to favor Democrats, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case.

12. The family unit has shaped people’s experience of COVID-19. The Economist. 5 June.

The family unit can be a source of danger for some and of irritation to many. Yet its role as a safety-net has also been thrown into sharper relief by the events of the past five months.

 Added extras

Podcast: Democracy Sausage: Is the government failing women in its COVID-19 policy responses?

Mark Kenny chats with Barbara Pocock AM and Trish Bergin about the government’s decision to roll back free childcare and the impacts of Australia’s COVID-19 policy responses on women.

YouTube: Beyonce commencement speech: Dear class of 2020.

This is one for the ages. "Not enough Black women had a seat at the table. So I had to go and chop down that wood and build my own table". Powerful stuff in the era of COVID-19, George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.


Gender News, 29 May - 4 June

  1. New Zealand tackles period poverty with free sanitary products for all schoolgirls. The Guardian. 3 June.

Girls in New Zealand high schools will no longer have to pay for sanitary products after the government announced it would foot the bill in an attempt to stamp out widespread period poverty.

2. Pandemic could scar a generation of working mothers. NYTimes. 3 June.

Working from home has highlighted and compounded the heavier domestic burden borne by women. Now office reopenings may force new career sacrifices.

3. Downturns tend to reduce gender equality, but not under COVID-19. The Economist. 2 June.

Sex segregation of the workforce alone cannot explain why women have been hit hardest by the COVID recession. Women in Britain were 15% more likely to have lost their job and 8% more likely to have been furloughed

4. Indigenous diplomats and Australia-Asia engagement: An interview with Julie-Ann Guivarra. The Mandarin. 2 June.

Interview with Julie-Ann Guivarra in her new role as Ambassador for Gender Equality.

5. Women drinking more during the pandemic and it’s probably got a lot to do with their mental health. The Conversation. 2 June.

New data suggests women are drinking at higher levels than usual during the pandemic, more so than men.

6. What if we had – binding quotas for women? New Internationalist. 2 June.

Many politicians agree with gender parity – in principle. The trouble is making it happen. Enter the issue of quotas – and that thorniest of questions, should they be voluntary or enforced?

7. New domestic violence inquiry to probe national figures in keeping victims safe. ABC. 2 June.

A new parliamentary inquiry into domestic violence comes less than a fortnight after a Senate inquiry into domestic violence drew fierce criticism for wrapping three months early, having not taken any submissions or held public hearings.

8. Free childcare set to end by July but parents promised continued relief. 7News. 2 June.

The government is set to scrap its childcare subsidy package earlier than previously thought, with parents reportedly to start paying for childcare fees by July. But fees are likely to be cheaper than before coronavirus hit, with subsidies set to increase.

9. Identity politics excommunicates its heretics. National Review. 2 June.

The Left’s worldview functions as a religion, punishing or coercing dissenters and silencing heretics.

10. Working mothers penalised: why childcare subsidies must be reviewed. AFR. 1 June.

Women returning to work are faced with punishing disincentives in the childcare system. It is in dire need of review.

11. Why Norma McCorvey matters. The Atlantic. 1 June.

The original plaintiff behind Roe v. Wade is more than just a symbol in the abortion rights debate.

12. Women in power: it’s a matter of life and death. Social Europe. 1 June.

Countries with female leaders have suffered one-sixth as many COVID-19 deaths as those led by men and will recover sooner from recession.

Added extras


He said, she said: Does the media pit women against each other. SMH. 30 May.