A big welcome back to Georgie Dent, as our new Contributing Editor here on Women’s Agenda. Georgie’s appointment comes as we ramp up our coverage of the issues that matter to you, across politics, business, leadership, culture and life.
It also comes in the lead up to our relaunch over the coming months, something the team’s busy working on behind the scenes to have ready for you early on in the new year.
Long-term Women’s Agenda readers will remember Georgie’s sharp style of writing and editing that make her one of the best journalists in the country focusing on issues affecting women. She’s a regular television commentator, a prolific social media user (follow her on Twitter @georgiedent and Facebook here) and a HUGE advocate for evening the playing field for men and women at work.
She’s also open and willing to share her own experiences, with some of our most loved and best shared stories on Women’s Agenda stemming from Georgie’s honest take on life and work. Having recently had her third child – and now juggling work in between getting her eldest to school, her second to daycare and having her third at home – she intimately understands some of the day-to-day pressures of balancing motherhood with work –
Today is the start of a new job. Or is it an old one? Either way, it’s exciting. It’s been fifteen months since I bid Women’s Agenda farewell. Since then I have had another baby: a third delicious daughter. And while plenty has happened in the intervening months, weeks and days, I was struck yesterday by how little has changed.
Paid parental leave continues to dominate headlines for all the wrong reasons. Rather than being progressed or improved, the government is seeking to dismantle the current scheme. If it weren’t for the fierce and committed advocacy of groups like The Parenthood and Fair Agenda, it may well have been undermined already.
An election commitment given to Fair Agenda by Nick Xenophon’s Team looks to be the saviour. The government will struggle to pass the legislation without the NXT cross-benchers’ support.
Childcare remains fraught. Positions are still hard to come by, carers and educators are still underpaid and fees are exorbitant. Despite billions of dollars being funnelled into subsidies, the outcomes for parents, educators and children are no better.
I can sadly report from the frontline of life with a baby that the rude shock we first encountered when finding childcare for our firstborn, five years ago, remains prescient. Finding childcare is still a major point of angst for families of new babies. For most first-time parents it’s inexplicable: the cost, the difficulty, the logistics. And, as ever, it’s compounded by the ongoing hunt for flexibility and stability in employment. The work/family puzzle remains far too tricky, for far too many.
On the subject of matters inexplicable, we are on the precipice of an American election in which Donald Trump, an openly vulgar and sexist man without an iota of experience in public office, is the Republican’s candidate for president. Even if he loses, which many predict he will, it won’t diminish the indictment of his candidacy.
His candidacy casts dire aspersions on the GOP’s appetite for intolerance, rampant sexism and vulgarity. If this is a man selected – and then, heaven forbid, elected – for the highest office, who exactly would they reject?
The silver lining, perhaps, will be a population more acutely aware of the harassment and sexism women face?
Since I last wrote for Women’s Agenda, our Prime Minister and our Minister for Women have changed, yet real leadership on matters pertaining to women still eludes us.
Domestic violence remains woefully underfunded with legal services and shelters still fighting to have Federal funding reinstated. As Anne Summers reported in August, in NSW just 14 of the state’s 78 feminist-run refuges are still either open or women-operated after the 2014 Going Home Staying Home “reforms”.
The last line in that Anne Summers’ column jolted me upright. There is plenty of goodwill around now about gender equality and feminism but the simple fact remains that little is changing. Worse, gains for women are under threat. Which is why Summers makes the pertinent point that caring isn’t enough: we need to fight.
Which is why I am thrilled to be back on board at Women’s Agenda: to help fight for change and keep you informed about the issues that matter.