As women’s issues in the workplace continue to become a talking point for many businesses, the importance of International Women’s Day is making waves throughout the country.
This Friday, 8 March we look toward examples of businesses leading the way for women in the property and development industry.
One architecture firm championing women in the workforce is Cottee Parker Architects, a practice that is wholly committed to creating an inclusive, supportive and flexible workplace where all team members are treated fairly and with respect.
Looking to formalise their commitment to promoting gender balance at all levels in their business and generating equal employment opportunities for staff, Cottee Parker are embarking on the WGEA Employer of Choice Equality (EOCGE) citation process with the Australian government.
Driving their journey is the Gender Equality Committee, which includes Cottee Parker general manager Kirrily Murphy, and other members of the leadership team.
Working together, they hope to embed the WGEA goals within the Cottee Parker culture, and establish a broad focus on equity and opportunity for all employees.
“Achieving greater gender balance across the organisation and within leadership positions is a key priority for Cottee Parker,” Murphy said.
“Our aim, through our Gender Equality Committee is to realise a higher representation of women in senior management roles, backed by more training for career advancement and deliberate succession planning to ensure a balanced pipeline of talent.”
It’s not just official citations that make Cottee Parker a standout when it comes to women in the workforce.
Their staff are made to feel empowered, and have shared with The Urban Developer what they think about International Women’s Day and what this year’s theme “Balance for Better” means for them, personally.
Graduate of Architecture
“Balance for Better” as this year’s International Women’s Day theme is so pertinent for 2019.
Where the previous scale weighed heavily on the side of women working harder and longer to prove their ability, we are now on the verge of a society that celebrates women’s efforts at work, at home and in society.
Thanks to those that advocated and worked hard, the emerging norm is now not having to choose between work and family. Women can often have a balance of both and that’s a massive leap in the right direction.
I think the “balance for better” theme is a great reminder that diversity and balance make a better workplace, a better home and a better community for everyone not just women!
Associate, Hospitality Unit Lead
What does “Balance for Better” mean to me? It means collectively breaking down stereotypes and barriers that disable a gender balance in the workplace, at home and around the world.
While I have experienced some of these stereotypes I have also been lucky enough to have both male and female mentors in my life that have motivated and enhanced my outlook to not be deterred (no matter how hard this may seem sometimes).
I now try to emulate this with those I interact with daily. My family and I will be striking the “balance for better” pose on 8 March 2019 to celebrate women’s global achievements.
Graduate of Architecture
Optimistically, I reflect on how women in today’s diverse and competitive workplace, can continue to support and empower each other to achieve improved equality and step closer towards a gender-balanced world. This focus must start with us; women supporting women.
Mentor your fellow colleagues and build upon relationships which share valuable advice and guidance through life’s ambiguous situations.
Be an advocate: striving towards championing those difficult conversations which seek to better the balance around us.
Lastly, sponsor women. Women who stand with each other in the workplace, undeniably advocate and stand for both genders. May #BalanceforBetter be the continued voice of encouragement towards a clearer vision of equality.
Senior Architectural Technician
Every person, woman or man has a unique career story to tell. Mine started 30 years ago. A journey of life and work, career and family, all interwoven to shape and bring me where I am today.
These many years in construction, design and production have been my anchor and safe-port, through unsettling immigration and living on three different continents.
I have seen many ups and downs but there has also been so much satisfaction and growth through it all.
Colleagues who have come and gone, friendships made and gratitude given to all those along the way who have shaped, inspired and supported me. Here at 50 feeling calmer, more confident and at peace with my journey.
This International Women's Day there might be the perception that we need to fight for more equality. Don’t get me wrong, I am in debt to all those women who have in the past and still do today, campaign and rally for real outcomes to equality. But I’d like to rather think of International Women’s Day as a celebration of women.
A special time to consider the difference we make every day, in the lives of our families, our friends and our colleagues. I say let us celebrate being women in the workplace, that bring balance to any job description, through diversity, compassion and joy.
Let us build support for each other and also support our male counterparts, who like us, also have a story.
When I was nine years old I auditioned for the lead role in my school’s musical. When advised by my teachers that the lead role was a part made for a boy, my precocious self looked up and proudly pronounced that I could do the role just as well as any boy.
That year, a little girl went off to war and started a family to the songs of Elvis Presley and Cat Stevens, all with her hair tucked beneath a backwards baseball cap.
Twenty years later it is inspiring to see this same mentality shared by so many women, thriving in roles traditionally played boys.
While we undoubtedly still have a long way to go, I am surrounded by strong capable women in every aspect of my life, giving me hope that the scales are slowly shifting. And I no longer have to tuck my hair into a backwards cap to achieve all I want to achieve.
My mother-in-law, like many of her generation, did not have the opportunities I did. After finishing school she was presented with two options; a “nice” job in the public service, or going to secretarial college.
A university education wasn’t important – she would only need to work until she had children. Life didn’t pan out that way and she had to re-enter the workforce, less qualified and less paid, bearing the lion’s share of the household burden. Hence, she fervently raised her sons to understand that the responsibilities of work, home and family are to be shared equally, not assigned by gender.
As I prepare to return to the paid workforce after maternity leave, with a husband who supports me in my career ambitions, I am grateful to my mother-in-law, a feminist who has made a difference in driving gender balance in her own way.
Although the industry has made leaps toward equality and inclusivity, International Women’s Day marks an opportunity to openly celebrate women in the workplace and acknowledge their unique experiences.
At Cottee Parker, striving to create balance for all employees remains a key theme of their internal culture, both on International Women’s Day, and on every other day of the year.
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