In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, we invited Elizabeth Broderick in for a chat, asking: Elizabeth, why doesn’t work always work for women?
“The two norms that are imprisoning us are the ‘ideal worker’ model and the ‘good mother’ belief. So here in Australia there’s good research which shows that if you’re available 24/7, with no visible caring responsibilities (so, most likely male) then you are the ideal worker. And if you were born and educated in Australia, you probably believe that ‘good mothers’ are always with their children. You put those two social norms together, it's amazing anyone can work in this country!
So what we're trying to do is create a work environment which is sufficiently flexible and inclusive that we are attracting the best talent we can get. And the idea that you're cutting yourself off from 50% of the talent because of your inability to restructure the way work is done, it's just ludicrous.
Work is a human construct. We've created it. We can shift it.”
Elizabeth is the UN's special rapporteur on discrimination against women and girls and a member of the UN Working Group. Our wide-ranging conversation with Elizabeth, hosted by Ranna Alkadamani in Frasers Property Australia’s head office in Sydney, covered everyday sexism, radical feminism, fatherhood, Male Champions of Change and the ‘radical act’ of self care.