This article was originally published by Advancing Women, and authored by Michelle Redfern.
She’ll be right mate! The image of the laconic Aussie comes to my mind when I hear that phrase. She’ll be right tells me not to worry, not to stress, everything will work out alright in the end. However, the end for many women in Australia is death, injury, homelessness, poverty and a life of misery. That has to stop, now.
As I write this post, it is the week of International Women’s Day 2021, and Women’s History Month in the U.S. It is also a time when Australia is having a moment of reckoning when it comes to attitudes towards, and the treatment of women in workplaces. So ‘she’ll be right’ doesn’t cut it anymore.
SHE’LL BE RIGHT! (WHEN?)
Just like Georgie Dent, I have a complicated relationship with IWD. I am frustrated that year in year out organisations ‘woke wash’ themselves in IWD events, cupcakes and social media posts, but then do f*ck all for the rest of the year to remove the systemic barriers that prevent women from reaching their full potential. This signals to me that there’s a lot of hoping and wishing that ‘she’ll be right’ when it comes to the workplace being a place where women can reach their full potential.
There is still far too much of this ‘she’ll be right’ attitude towards women in Australia. Unless we drop the ‘she’ll be right’ mindset, it is going to take 100 years until women in Australia can expect to have the same opportunity for economic, social, political, educational, and wellbeing outcomes as men do. Which is unacceptable!
WOMEN DON’T NEED A DAY
My colleague Susan Colantuono puts it perfectly. Women don’t need a day, we need equality! Hear! Hear!
Whilst I am very despondent about the state of our nation for women at present, I remain determined to get shit done for gender equality. I am so determined that I’ll be taking part in a protest march for the first time in my life. Because I want more workplaces to get serious about creating an environment where women can bring their whole self to work, feel included, respected, and valued. I want more workplaces where women can reach their full potential.
WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES
I have developed a number of tools and guides for workplace leaders. One of them is called “Walk a Mile” which is an activity designed to build awareness of how each of us has some unearned privilege, and importantly, what that can mean in terms of creating gender-equal, inclusive workplaces. It is a free, no strings attached resource that I encourage you to participate in HERE.
As I head into a couple of weeks of IWD keynotes and workshops (yes I get the irony) I call on everyone to make IWD a day for celebration in the future, not activism. You can do that by getting serious about the lived experience of women in your workplace, every, single, day! UN Women has created 12 small actions with big impacts, I encourage you to read them, and take action!
If you want more advice, tools, and a plan to move beyond ‘she’ll be right’ then you know where to find me.
About Michelle Redfern
Michelle is the founder of Advancing Women, an enterprise providing research and advisory services on equality, inclusion and gender diversity. She is also the founder professional women’s network Women Who Get It, co-founder of social enterprise CDW (Culturally Diverse Women and Workforces) and co-founder and co-host of A Career that Soars! Michelle is determined to contribute to achieving global gender equality in her life time, especially through her research and advocacy in the sporting industry.
Michelle is a Non-executive director for Williamstown Football Club, an Ambassador for Honour a Woman, Respect Victoria and Flexible Working Day. She has held executive leadership roles ASX & FTSE listed companies NAB, Telstra and Serco during her 30-year career.
Michelle was named City of Melbourne B3000 Female Entrepreneur of the Year (2019), is a proud recipient of the AFR 100 Women of Influence Award (2018).
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