One of the key drivers in my life is social justice – equality for all. I marched passionately for same-sex marriage, and I continue to fight for gender equality. I have made a commitment to myself that, in all aspects of my life, I will actively make a difference in the world that I live in and will bring equality to as many people as possible. I will not be a spectator.
There are so many ways to impact change and there are many great people working hard to #PressForProgress, the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. I wanted to acknowledge all the hard work done so far but also how much more we still need to do.
As CEO of FlexCareers, I witness first hand the countless organisations working hard for real meaningful change around flexible working. What, you might ask has this got to do equality or IWD? In fact, it has everything to do with it. In order to live in modern society, we need money and we need to work – it is one of the fundamental aspects of how our system is structured. However, it is still a system that favours and supports men more than women. These systemic injustices are coming to light, and not only in relation to our opportunity to participate in the workforce but also how women are treated at work, as recently highlighted by the #MeToo campaign, which uncovered how widespread and commonplace sexual harassment is. So how can flexible working make a difference?
Flexible working challenges the very construct of work. Work for many is still structured around old-fashioned industrial revolution factory-style working conditions, with set start and finish times, a boss that tells you what to do and that needs to see you to know that you are doing your job correctly. But we don’t live in the industrial age anymore. We have had the digital revolution that allows many of us to work from multiple locations, for mines to be operated by automatic trucks and drills, and overall disruption to how, where and when we work. Technology is enabling these dramatic changes from command, control and input focus, to a workplace that is collaborative and values output over hours spent at our desks.
For women, the biggest obstacle to fully participating in the workforce is the belief that women must be the primary caregivers for children and ageing parents, whilst men are the breadwinners sacrificing family life to pursue a career. There are so many things wrong with this picture I don’t even know where to start! If we were to remove gender from the discussion, we would figure out what is best for our partnership, for our family – not what is defined by society.
This is where true workplace flexibility comes in. When we take a gender-neutral position on flexibility, and encourage everyone to find their ideal work-life integration – negotiating different start and finish times, location-based working, compressed work weeks, buying additional leave or any other options from the myriad available – we remove the gender-lens at home too. Then we will begin the journey to real gender equality.
#IWD2018 #PressForProgress #GetFoundOnFlex #FlexAppeal #GetActive #MakeADifference
Natalie Goldman is an experienced business leader and has over 20 years of experience in across numerous industries throughout APAC. Her focus has been in HR, Learning & Development and Organisational Development.
In recent years, Natalie set out to realise her passion for economically empowering women by starting her own business to assist female entrepreneurs. Natalie is driven by making a difference in this world and volunteers as a Living Fearlessly Leader at Global Sisters and sits on the board of the omen’s Indigenous Network.
Natalie works flexibly full time as CEO at FlexCareers, and is the mother of 2 fun-loving kids.