IWD2015: Women At Work

This article was first published on Youth Central, March 2015.

International Women’s Day, which is happening on 8 March 2015, is a time to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It’s a time to look back and see how far we have come.

It’s also a time to reflect on the challenges women face in their day-to-day lives. For instance, many women in Australia still face inequality in the workforce.

Workplace Inequality

We might work hard at our jobs and be employees everyone can count on, but women still face a significant pay gap. In 2015 a report by the Gender Equity Agency found that women in managerial roles get paid up to 45 per cent less than their male colleagues. The same report also discovered that women in clerical roles face a pay gap as well.

It’s no surprise, then, that some women might lack the confidence to succeed at work or feel undervalued by their employers.

It can also be intimidating to work in traditionally male-dominated industries like engineering and IT.

Kylie Tang is studying to become an engineer. She recently finished an internship in this field, which she enjoyed tremendously. Kylie believes women are beginning to get recognition for what they do at work.

“Companies understand the value that diversity, including a good mix of people of both genders, brings to the workplace,” Kylie says. “Lots of them are now looking at strategies to bring more women onto their teams, whether at the graduate level or in positions of seniority.”

Harassment in the Workplace

In Australia, sexual harassment is something a lot of women face at work. A survey by the Federal Human Rights Commission in 2012 found that one in four Australian women are sexually harassed at work, and that only a fifth of those women report these incidents.

If you or a friend are sexually harassed at work, you should talk to your supervisor about it.  If you don’t want to talk to your supervisor or colleagues about it, you can lodge a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

You can also check out Youth Central’s Problems in the Workplace pages to get more information about bullying and harassment at work and where you can find support to get through this difficult time.

International Women’s Day is certainly a time to remind ourselves to speak up for our rights and what we believe in. All of us deserve to be treated equally at work and to be valued for our individual skills.

Finding Confidence and Inspiration

Finding confidence at work might take a while for some of us women. It’s important, though, to seize opportunities that come our way if we want to succeed in industries that we’re passionate about.

These days education is much more accessible and affordable for women in Australia, which is certainly a stepping stone towards getting our dream job.

International Women’s Day is also a chance for women to talk and network with one another at the many events celebrating women held around the world on this day. Kylie says that IWD is a chance for her to get career advice and be inspired by women who are successful at what they do.

“Meeting successful women who enjoy and are passionate about their work proves to me that it is possible to reach my goal in a male-dominated industry,” Kylie says. “Attending events held by professional associations gives me the opportunity to speak to women I may never have met in class or at work.”

For me, International Women’s Day is about respecting each other as women and respecting each other’s talents and strengths.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and today I am lucky enough to get paid for some of the articles that I write. It’s involved a lot of hard work and taking the time to talk to fellow writers to get inspiration to write.

If we have the skills to do our dream job, there’s no reason we can’t succeed. With a positive attitude, some inspiration and some self-belief, there’s no telling what women can achieve.

The choice is ours to become the confident, capable women of tomorrow.

How You Can Get Involved

Check out the International Women’s Day website to find out how you can get involved with this celebration of women and their achievements.

You can also show your support by attending one of the many events held in your community. There are a wide range of events taking place to celebrate International Women’s Day, including events on leadership, business and sport, so there’s bound to be something of interest to you.

You can also show your support online by sharing women’s success stories on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Happy IWD!