Why normalising parental leave is good for men and women

Parental leave is about parents. Not just women. At Circle In, we want to help organisations move the conversation from working mothers to working parents. This is why we are excited to read the Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women’s seventh report on gender parity in Australia, released today.

The report Better Together: Increasing Male Engagement in Gender Equality Efforts in Australia is based on survey data collected by global management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Compiled data looks at men’s engagement with gender equality. Results collected from close to 2,000 members of Australia’s business, government and not-for-profit communities suggests the “missing link” in gender equality won’t be achieved without significant male engagement.

Engagement in gender equality initiatives is defined as the level of participation in activities that support gender equality, including participating in gender equality training, mentoring a female colleague, calling out instances of discrimination, or working part time.

The report findings suggest that while most men (76 percent) in the workplace are gender equality supporters, few (17 percent) take action.

The results of the survey also suggest that opinions and perceptions about men’s engagement vary between men and women. The survey found that while 64 percent of male respondents feel satisfied with their current level of engagement, women do not agree. Almost 70 percent of women said that they would like men to be more involved.

“As long as it’s normal that women take 95% of the parental leave, and that mostly women take the option to work part time when they return to the work, it will be mostly men whose careers are fast tracked towards senior roles. Normalising parental leave and career flexibility for both men and women is good for men and women, good for workplace productivity and good for society,” said Sue Morphet, President Chief Executive Women.

Traditional parental roles are changing, which is why Circle In for Employers exists; to help companies create the right environments to support men and women. Parental leave is the untapped opportunity to drive workforce participation and address gender equality for all working parents.

“Our research shows that less than 1 in 2 (47%) men felt their organisation was supportive of them taking parental leave, which is why we want to help companies create the right environments to support men.” said Kate Pollard, Co-founder Circle In.

Read the seventh report series of landmark gender parity surveys by global management consulting firm Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women here.

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