On Thursday, November 15, SEATT held our second event at the Builders’ Arms Hotel, Fitzroy. The aim was to update supporters on progress to date, while also creating an atmosphere for further debate and discussion on the challenges preventing carers leave being extended to, and taken by, men. Ultimately we wanted to hear more on whether our direction is the right one, and how we can further be agents of change.
The event was opened by board member Luke Bell who detailed the current statistics, and challenges, while explaining the SEATT approach. After dinner a panel convened, lead by Amelia Horrigan-Dixon and including Juliette Stead from Telaria, Will McCann from ANZ, Michael Livingstone from Jesuit Social Services, and SEATT board member Dan Robins from Spotify. The conversation centred on their experiences of taking a greater level of parental leave to play a bigger role in child care at home, the impact on their respective families and more broadly what concerns and challenges men face in taking extended parental leave.
The night culminated in table discussions on how SEATT can further develop it’s approach across Australia. The key thoughts were:
[SEATT should] start a groundswell - push the public to approach their MP pushing for change & policy
Pivot to a higher order verb “to care” or “to nurture” i.e. the people around me, colleagues, friends, family
Build policies for Corporate Australia to support shifting performance appraisals to "well being reviews" in businesses - “what will you be doing in the coming Qtr to nurture or develop people?”. Pacakges could be around rewarding the good behaviour of e.g. if deliver nurturing in workplace there is progression
The bias against men for wanting to be a carer needs to be overcome. SEATT should build multifaceted marketing, encourage men to really own it, coming from their peers who they really respect over "celebrities" they are not connected to.
In the same way women need to have role models in senior leadership to aid progress - men need the same in the home: how do we move away from the Hollywood stylisation of the Goofy Dad?
Aside from Federal & Corporate policy, SEATT should also look from the bottom up - work with small businesses in the community; challenges returning to work are the same for men and women. Salary often necessitates RTW decisions so how can this be alleviated in small businesses?
SEATT should approach Unions & Trade Halls as they have the groundswell to enact change.
There is the opportunity to showcase & celebrate the stories from across the nation of women doing “man’s” jobs and men being carers.
Also need to change women’s attitudes too - give up the caring role. Should we approach Australian Women’s Weekly?
We’re in the process of editing the video recordings of both Luke’s opening speech and the panel discussion, to be shared soon.