In 1960 my mum was 20, single and a primary school teacher at a small semi-rural school in WA. Three years later she got married and when that momentus event occurred the education department gave her the wedding gift of unemployment because she was now Mrs Sala Tenna and financially the responsibility of Mr Sala Tenna. Too bad that she actually earnt more than my Dad until that point!
In 1963 this was not even remotely illegal and in fact didn’t seem to even raise an eyebrow of concern! I wonder, if the laws hadn’t changed in WA in 1984, when the Equal Opportunity Act came into existence, and made this unlawful, whether schools on their own decision would have worked out it wasn’t a good idea.
While it seems ridiculous to us now, that you would fire someone when they got married it was not ridiculous to them then, it was the norm.
Right now in Australia it is the norm to have women way under-represented in leadership positions. For a whole range of reasons they do not get identified, offered and promoted to these positions despite their ability to do the job.
Some companies have realised this is a bad thing and are committed to doing something about it but a lot just dont really care, and to be honest, probably won’t unless the law makes them!
For those who do care the Workplace Gender Equality Agency have created a great toolkit to assist them in working out reasonable targets for women in leadership and then working towards those targets!
If you are committed to creating a diverse, harmonious workplace where people are valued and treated with respect then call Franca at EEO Specialists to discuss how this could happen.