Regional Australia is often at the forefront of structural adjustment.
There is, and will continue to be, a changing demographic in the labour market. In regions, such as Geelong and the Latrobe Valley, men are leaving manufacturing and mining jobs, while their partners are moving back into full-time work and becoming the primary breadwinners.
Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In dedicates a whole chapter to what she calls the Ambition Gap. ‘She is very ambitious is not a compliment in our culture,’ she writes. We have a different problem in regional Australia. The Aspiration Gap is a genuine problem for our economic growth. Educational and career aspiration in regional schools is demonstrably lower, and educational participation of regional young people requires additional support.
Generally, our social structures in regional areas keep women under the grass ceiling. This is not unique to rural Australia, it’s a phenomenon of gender inequity all over the world. But many women place ourselves under the ceiling or see ourselves remaining there.
Regional economies prosper when women work.
Women’s participation in the labour market in regional economies adds value and keeps regional areas economically stable.
In her introduction to Sandberg’s Lean In, Belinda Hutchinson states that Australia needs to lift its productivity. She says that if Australian women equalled the workforce participation of men we could add 13% to GDP. It is even more important for regional Australian women to increase their labour force participation. Women in regional areas can help grow local economies and create jobs by their expenditure on services and goods when they are part of the workforce.
Regional and Rural Women Can Move from Stuck to Soaring.
As a professional leadership coach and mentor Maree McPherson Consulting helps women across regional Australia move from ‘Stuck’ to ‘Soaring’. Real change occurs when regional and rural women are supported to open their minds to the options available; when they know their own values system; when they are willing to explore outside the ‘small pond’; and, create their own visibility. Possibilities they never thought of before start to arise.
Many women describe their frustration at climbing the career ladder. Maree McPherson supports women to aim for career soaring instead. This is less like a ladder (up and down) and more like a climbing wall. You might head sideways to gain a foothold, take a look at what’s next, and learn from those new experiences. You gather your thoughts before moving again. You don’t have to climb upwards straight away.
Maree McPherson Consulting equips rural and regional women to become visible in their careers.
Maree McPherson is passionate about women creating opportunities in regional and rural areas. The city isn’t necessarily a better place to have a career, run a business, or raise a family. Yet not enough women know they can have a fulfilling and rewarding life outside the CBD.
Feelings of insecurity, self-limiting beliefs and preconceived ideas of what it means to be female hold many women back from pursuing opportunities to enhance their role in the workplace and in local communities.
Maree’s diverse and varied career has been possible in regional Australia and having experienced many of the challenges and joys associated with regional life, she is passionate about inspiring other women to step up to their own success. She helps women to understand and overcome self-doubt and feelings of uncertainty to unlock the array of opportunities available to women in regional and rural areas.
Maree wants women in regional and rural Australia to envisage a future where gender disparity ceases to exist.
Maree McPherson is a leadership coach, facilitator, speaker and author of Cutting Through the Grass Ceiling – Women Creating Possibility in Regional Australia, who works with corporate organisations, not-for-profits and individuals. She helps women to aspire beyond what they think they are capable of, and is passionate about women creating opportunities in regional and rural areas.
Many companies use expert solutions provided by consulting and advisory firms to advance gender equality. However, the offering of gender equality services tends to be fragmented.
We are working to identify and promote a portfolio of gender equality services from consulting organisations who meet Femeconomy’s criteria. The criteria to be a Femeconomy approved company is at least 30% of women on the Board of Directors or 50% female ownership. This provides businesses with the opportunity to support gender equality through their procurement decisions. Contact us for more information.