I attended an event run by the incubator Cicada Innovations recently, at which our Aussie Dads photo exhibition featured and set the scene for a new crowd. Cicada is a home to deep tech start-up companies in Australia, supporting science-based innovations from ideation all the way through to incubation. It plays a major role in creating the industries, the jobs and the workforce of the future.
The CEO of Cicada Innovations, Petra Andren, was inspired by the Aussie Dads photo exhibition because she saw it as a mechanism for an important conversation on shared care. Petra strongly believes that in order to stay competitive, the workforce needs to be more diverse. Of course, gender diversity is just one element of this, but it's an important element. There is a lot of research to show that a diverse team performs better, are more creative and more productive. Everyone benefits from shared care; men, women, children, society and the economy as a whole.
Petra was raised in Sweden, where the photographer of the Aussie Dads photos, Johan Bavman, is from and is the country that originally inspired Parents At Work to begin this shared care and parental leave equality campaign. Petra shared at this event that her father was very involved in raising her. For her shared care as the norm, having seen her parents share the caring responsibilities in her childhood. She considers this topic a “no brainer” but is acutely aware that Australia has a lot of work to do before we inch closer to the equality that exists in her hometown.
My job involves engaging with our clients to build solutions that provide the best support possible for the working parents and carers employed at their organisations. The majority of our clients are corporate organisations with established policies and frameworks in place, and a constant evolution on best practice approach to inclusion and diversity. Our clients understand that including dads in the conversation on parental leave and juggling family and work is important. They also know they are driving change by introducing practices and policies that support this cultural shift.
What I really loved about the event at Cicada Innovations, was to witness a group of incredibly interesting and intelligent people who I had not met before. A group of people who embrace this conversation and welcome the concept of shared care being the natural future state for the workforce in Australia. It really showed me that this conversation has gained momentum and taken on a life of its own. I am excited to imagine the future when I can tell my kids “when you were born, do you realise your Dad wasn’t allowed any time off work to spend time with you as a baby?”. And I can imagine the laughter at the ridiculousness of such a truth.
Written by Kiri Stejko, CSO, Parents At Work
For more information on the work we are doing with the Advancing Parental Leave Equality Network visit www.aplen.com.au.
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