Abbey Ideas Forum: Rebecca Huntley

14 June 2016

Thanks to everyone who came to the Abbey ideas Forum with Rebecca Huntley on 14 June 2015.  It was a great discussion.

Rebecca gave us a preview of her upcoming book, which looks at the overlapping caring responsibilities facing women in their 40s and 50s – after having cared for their children suddenly find themselves caring for older parents.

She remarked that it’s some of the most depressing research she’s ever done, saying she’s found that “Australian women are exhausted” and their satisfaction with life is declining.

The caring trap is facing all women- women without children yet are working to a 30-year deadline; women without children are ignored and their caring roles are not even acknowledged; mothers working full-time are describing their lives and robotic.

Part-time work is seen as the go-to solution for women to manage their work and caring responsibilities, but this takes its toll: you’re seen as only partially committed to your job, so you are given fewer opportunities, have less bargaining power, and this has real long-term repercussions for promotion, wages, and super.

Says Rebecca, as citizens we all have caring responsibilities, and our workplaces and policy-settings need to reflect that most of this is falling on women.

She also notes that many people want flexible work, men and women, young and old, and yet the burden of pushing this argument and forcing companies to make it real is falling on women, and often when they are at their most vulnerable.

Thanks to Maddocks Lawyers for hosting us in their Sydney boardroom.