50 Ways to Improve Womens Lives (Inner Ocean Action Guide)

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She also noted particular differences that have emerged between the two chambers. The House of Representatives, for example, has a strong tradition of appointing women to procedural committees, whilst relatively few women have chaired joint committees which tend to deal with higher status issues such as foreign affairs. The proportion of women parliamentarians has grown steadily since the s, and some reforms have been introduced that go some way to addressing these changes. The Standing Orders were amended accordingly on 9 November With the increase in the number of women having children whilst in office, there have also been cross-party calls for family-friendly reforms to the parliamentary environment and its practices.

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In Ros Kelly became the first woman to have a baby while serving in the Commonwealth Parliament. Since then a number of female parliamentarians have had children whilst in office and there have been several instances where very young children have been brought into the chambers. The presence of children in the chambers has attracted a range of responses from presiding officers, parliamentary colleagues, and the media.

In more recent years, some measures have been put into place to accommodate the parenting needs of parliamentarians, staff, and members of the public visiting Parliament House.

These have included an on-site childcare facility, rooms for breast-feeding mothers, and a special provision for nursing mothers to vote by proxy during divisions in the House of Representatives. The IPU has called for parliaments to strengthen their role in advancing gender equality in parliamentary environments and mainstreaming a gender perspective into parliamentary processes. One such strategy that has been widely adopted in national parliaments is the establishment of parliamentary bodies or standing committees specifically dealing with matters of gender equality.

According to the IPU, there are currently such bodies in countries, although the Australian Parliament does not have such a body. The representation of women in Australian parliaments can also be seen as a reflection of gender diversity in other leadership and executive decision-making roles. Election to local government offers an important avenue for those seeking pursuing parliamentary careers.

In the 44th Commonwealth Parliament, 12 female senators and members previously had experience in local government. A national survey of local government councillors in , for example, showed that women comprised Following local government elections in Victoria and New South Wales in , women comprised 34 per cent of all Councillors and 25 per cent of mayors in Victoria, and 27 per cent of Councillors and 19 per cent of mayors in New South Wales.

In the Commonwealth Government set a target of 40 per cent women and 40 per cent men on Commonwealth Government board positions by , and this target was achieved for the first time in Sources: Women on Australian Government boards reports for — [93]. The matter of gender diversity on corporate boards has attracted attention both in Australia and overseas, with many countries adopting strategies or quotas to increase the number of women in boardrooms.

In the Australian Institute of Company Directors reported that women accounted for nearly 30 per cent of all new board appointments by the largest companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange ASX , largely as a result of the ASX corporate governance recommendations on gender diversity that required members to adopt and disclose a diversity policy, establish measurable objectives for gender diversity on boards, and provide results in annual reports. In recent years a number of business organisations have examined the trends and proposed initiatives to address gender diversity in leadership positions as follows:.

Despite the progress made over the past 50 years, Australia still has a long way to go to achieve equality of opportunity. The failure of meritocratic processes due to unconscious bias, gender stereotypes and the reinforcement of those stereotypes, the way we have historically designed and organised work without much thought to non-work responsibilities, lack of mentoring and role models, and the prohibitive cost of childcare are all barriers to gender equality in the workplace. Under-representation of women in parliament remains a significant challenge in Australia.

More than years after the first women contested a Commonwealth election, only one in four Members in the House of Representatives and two in five Senators are women. Despite several women having filled high profile roles in Commonwealth, state and territory parliaments in recent years, including Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs, women continue to be significantly under-represented in the Commonwealth Parliament and in senior federal ministries and parliamentary positions.

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and parliamentary associations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, are focusing on ways to encourage national parliaments to better accommodate women. The proportion of women elected to local government in Australia, for example, has changed little in the past 20 years and remains well below 30 per cent. Women have been better represented on government boards in recent years since the introduction in of a 40 per cent target within five years.

The gender imbalance in leadership positions has also been a matter of concern in the corporate sector where the representation of women on corporate boards remains low. Appendix 1: Women in national parliaments—top 50 ranked countries with and compared. Appendix 2: Women in the Commonwealth Parliament, — Appendix 3: Women in Commonwealth ministries, —, as at 1 January Appendix 4: Presiding Officers in Australian parliaments by party and gender, as at 6 June Appendix 6: Selected milestones for women in Australian parliaments.

Appendix 7: Twenty longest-serving women in the Commonwealth Parliament as at 30 June Appendix 9: Proportion of female senators and members, — Appendix Percentage of female candidates and elected MPs in House of Representatives by major party, — Australian Electoral Commission, Senate nominations by gender and House of Representatives nominations by gender , Election , 1 November Drabsch, T, Women in politics and public leadership , Briefing paper no. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, Australian census of women in leadership , Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in national parliaments website.

Reynolds, M, The last bastion: Labor women working towards equality in the parliaments of Australia , Business and Professional Publishing, Sydney, Smith, T, Candidate gender in the Australian federal election , Democratic Audit discussion paper 1 10 , August Women in the Senate , Senate Brief no. S Palmieri, Global survey on gender-sensitive parliaments: A global review of good practice , Inter-Parliamentary Union, Reports and documents 65, , accessed 5 March The reasons for this are discussed below in The electoral system.

The proportional representation PR voting system was first used for the Victorian Legislative Council in the election. The two-tier cabinet system was introduced by Prime Minister Robert Menzies in and has been adopted by all subsequent governments except the Whitlam Government. See data in Appendix The total includes 44 men and five women who have served in both Houses and are counted once.

IPU, Women in national parliaments, op. M Reynolds, W omen, preselection and merit: who decides? See McCann, Electoral quotas for women: an international overview , op. See Appendix 2 for a summary of arguments for and against the use of electoral quotas. Constitution , adopted 16 October , amended August , clause 1. M Fitzherbert, Liberal women in parliament: what do the numbers tell us and where to from here? See Sawer, Tremblay and Trimble, Representing women in parliament , op.

Wright, ed, House of Representatives Practice , op. As Palmieri notes, the designation of committee chair is determined by the rules of each chamber: chairs of House of Representatives and Joint committees are drawn from the governing party; in the Senate some committees are chaired by government whilst others are chaired by opposition or minor parties.

Ibid, pp. In doing so it recognised that Members required to nurse infants may not always be able to attend in the Chamber to vote in divisions. The provision was first used on 20 October by Mrs Sophie Mirabella. Palmieri, Gender mainstreaming in the Australian Parliament, op. Local government service is listed in individual biographies for senators and members. See Parliamentary Handbook , op. CEDA, Women in leadership: understand the gender gap , op. With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and to the extent that copyright subsists in a third party, this publication, its logo and front page design are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.

In essence, you are free to copy and communicate this work in its current form for all non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to the author and abide by the other licence terms. The work cannot be adapted or modified in any way.


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Content from this publication should be attributed in the following way: Author s , Title of publication, Series Name and No, Publisher, Date. To the extent that copyright subsists in third party quotes it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material. Inquiries regarding the licence and any use of the publication are welcome to webmanager aph. This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian Parliament using information available at the time of production. The views expressed do not reflect an official position of the Parliamentary Library, nor do they constitute professional legal opinion.

Any concerns or complaints should be directed to the Parliamentary Librarian. Parliamentary Library staff are available to discuss the contents of publications with Senators and Members and their staff. This updated paper draws on recent data and research to discuss trends and issues relating to women in Australian parliaments within an international context. It includes data on women in leadership and ministry positions, on committees and as candidates in Commonwealth elections. Whilst the focus is on the Commonwealth Parliament, the paper includes comparative information about women in state and territory parliaments.

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