Ca­reer Or­bit

Over 75 per cent of Aus­tralia’s 276,000 full-time teach­ers are women, ac­cord­ing to ABS fig­ures, yet rel­a­tively few will break into se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tions.

The Australian Education Reporter - - CONTENTS - LIONEL CRANENBURGH

IN WA, where gov­ern­ment teach­ers are con­sid­ered public sec­tor em­ploy­ees, the depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has a gen­der im­bal­ance in se­nior ranks with 25 per­cent of women fill­ing cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive and re­gional di­rec­tors’ lev­els – only four of 16 po­si­tions are filled by women.

The dan­ger of quick-fix so­lu­tions to rec­tify gen­der in­equity was re­vealed by the ABC when an at­tempt at “blind re­cruit­ment” in the public sec­tor had to be stopped when the trial back­fired against women and eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

The trial, done by sev­eral public sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions, aimed to re­move sex­ism from se­lec­tion pro­cesses, in­clud­ing fe­male bosses, when gen­der was re­moved from ap­pli­ca­tions.

The Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment trial was aban­doned when it was found that de-iden­ti­fy­ing can­di­dates re­duced the like­li­hood of women be­ing se­lected for the short­list, as adding a woman’s name to a CV made the can­di­date 2.9 times more likely to be se­lected.

Pro­fes­sor Michael His­cox, who over­saw the trial, found that the public sec­tor had a long way to go on gen­der equal­ity and he rec­om­mended the need for more flex­i­ble work­ing con­di­tions and train­ing.

The CEO’S Gen­der Eq­uity Ini­tia­tive, launched by 18 WA CEOS to break the glass ceil­ing, fo­cuses on chang­ing cul­ture in schools from an early age.

Chris Suther­land, Chair of the ini­tia­tive’s Ed­u­ca­tion Group, asked teach­ers and par­ents to re­verse the trend that saw women in WA earn­ing 26 per cent less than men.

Na­tion­ally, the CEO Group said that WA had the low­est fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion on boards and the high­est pay gap. It has launched a TV ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, with school vis­its, to spread its mes­sage.

Suther­land’s rec­om­men­da­tions, made at the Gen­der Eq­uity launch in Gov­ern­ment House, asked schools to em­power girls to se­lect ca­reers lead­ing to­wards high-pay­ing oc­cu­pa­tions and for par­ents and teach­ers to stop cre­at­ing the im­pres­sion that some jobs were only for boys.

Dr Amanda Bell, prin­ci­pal of the Women’s Col­lege in Syd­ney Univer­sity and for­mer prin­ci­pal of Bris­bane Girls Gram­mar School, wrote in ABC News that the prac­tice of some in­de­pen­dent girls’ school boards to ap­point men as prin­ci­pals in all girls’ schools was mis­guided.

She said women were dis­ad­van­taged be­cause there were fewer fe­males than males on in­de­pen­dent school boards.

Ap­point­ing au­thor­i­ties pre­ferred a male prin­ci­pal as a “safer op­tion” to a fe­male deputy prin­ci­pal and there were more male prin­ci­pals and fewer fe­male prin­ci­pals who could ap­ply for jobs.

Her ad­vice is to have more fe­males ap­pointed to in­de­pen­dent school boards and men­tor mid­dle man­age­ment fe­males for CEO po­si­tions.

Women needed coach­ing in the changed role of CEO that in­volved project man­age­ment, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions and risk man­age­ment that re­quire dif­fer­ent skills and mind­set.

Karen Pedrick, deputy prin­ci­pal of South Thorn­lie Pri­mary School and for­mer prin­ci­pal of sev­eral re­mote and city schools in WA said that work­ing in re­mote schools could be chal­leng­ing but she was sup­ported by the re­gional of­fice staff.

“You are out there so you learn to bud­get, de­velop plans, man­age projects and sharpen your lead­er­ship skills,” she said.

Ms Pedrick won praise from the WA Di­rec­tor-gen­eral of Ed­u­ca­tion for rais­ing the at­ten­dance of Abo­rig­i­nal stu­dents to record lev­els.

She said that her aim was to men­tor Abo­rig­i­nal women to be­come lead­ers and prin­ci­pals, which would need the sup­port of uni­ver­si­ties, depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion and cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Re­search in 2017 done by the Mck­ell In­sti­tute, an Aus­tralian or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal re­search so­lu­tions to pol­icy chal­lenges, rec­om­mends that agen­cies should set tar­gets and time­frames for achiev­ing eq­uity with penal­ties for not meet­ing tar­gets.

Winch­ester and Brown­ing, writ­ing in the Jour­nal of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­icy and Man­age­ment, sug­gest that ac­tions need to be based on re­search, have the sup­port of se­nior of­fi­cers and net­works for women.

Dr Karen Edge’s re­search, from the In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion in Lon­don, pub­lished in the Guardian, said that women as­pir­ing to be head teach­ers in schools needed work­shops to build their con­fi­dence.

Oth­er­wise, schools were go­ing to lose in­cred­i­bly tal­ented peo­ple. Lionel Cranenburgh is the 2015 Pos­i­tive Be­hav­iours Win­ner (WA) and Di­rec­tor of Lionel Cranenburgh and As­so­ciates, Ca­reer Com­pany.

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