This Father’s Day we’re celebrating the dads who are dedicated to raising equality-minded children. In particular, we’re applauding the dads from WORK180 Endorsed Employers who are proudly breaking down workplace barriers and helping to build a world in which both sons and daughters can thrive.
From defying stereotypes and taking their paternity leave to cheering on their career-driven daughters, here are the wonderful ways in which some of these working dads are supporting a fairer future for their children.
Tackling gender inequality for the next generation
Paolo Spinetti | ANZ Environment and Safety Manager, USG Boral: I’m lucky to have two children, both with different interests and personalities. How I treat them is based on their individuality and personality, not by their gender. I choose my language carefully and am very careful not to praise something just because of a silly gender stereotype. I don’t focus on praising my daughter if she is first amongst the girls. I ask her what we are going to do so that she has the fastest time in the pool. And when my son wanted to dance ballet - who cares what the people in the shop thought when walking him to class? I paid no attention to them and focused on the joy that dancing brought him.
Tom Bills | National Brand Partnerships Leader, Lion: I am a staunch advocate for primary caregiving being equal. For example, through Lion’s flexible work policy I enjoyed taking three months leave to be a full time carer for both my girls and worked four days a week in 2019. I think it’s really important to show my daughters fairness and equality in the running of all household decisions and activities, and I’ve always encouraged gender-neutral toys, sports and activities for the girls. If I had boys, they’d play footy, so why can’t the girls? But ultimately, they get to decide, and I think that’s the greatest thing of all.
Jared Marshall | Photographer & Video Content Producer, WORK180: I’m aiming to be an example to Charlie as to how an equal and supportive relationship can be. Hopefully he takes this onboard as he grows and so that it’s another step in the right direction for his generation. Then he can live the examples we set and help society progress even more!
Phong Vuong | Site Manager, Programmed Industrial Maintenance: Hopefully the shift for an inclusive workplace won’t take a generation to happen. My daughter, Sophie, is just about to turn 11. The selfish side of me hopes that this shift will happen in time for her when she joins the workforce or when she wishes to return to work if she ever has kids. I am in a position which enables me to make a difference, even if it's to open the doors for opportunity
Another personal reason is my wife returned to the workforce after having seven years off to raise our family. Prior to her taking leave, she was so career focused. Having seven selfless years off for our family put a massive dent into her career. Seeing her struggle in securing the right role after being seven years away was hard on her, especially having to take a step back in her career position and adapting to all the work place changes.
I have two kids, Jack (8) and Sophie (11). There are no male or female jobs to do around the house. The kids share these equally. There is no such thing as “Jack does the heavy lifting” and “Sophie does the laundry”. If there is a barrier, then let's look at how we can overcome it and what can we put in place so that the job can be done.
Stephen Smith | Assistant Commissioner Human Capital Management, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services: I live in a household of equals with women who live their lives fully and follow their own paths – that makes me very proud. My wife is a rock and possesses a strength that inspires me and I have two young, intelligent and empowered daughters who deserve to live in a world that sees them and treats them as equals to anyone else.
I treat everyone equally, I try to be as interested, supportive and encouraging of their lives and decisions as I can. I have ensured that being a woman was never a limiting factor either in reality or in thought, and I have always made them believe they were equals of anyone and could do, and achieve anything they set their mind to. I have also been careful to raise them in the ‘real’ world. Not to fear anything, but so their eyes are fully open to the inequality that does exist, and to be aware of their environment and the risks that are in it. I try and provide opportunity, push and challenge thinking and provide a safe haven when they need it.
Brad Yelland | Chief Technology Officer, BAE Systems Australia: I have two adult daughters living at home and an adult son who no longer lives at home. My wife and I have always provided equal opportunity and support to our kids in all areas, facilitating their career and life development in whatever direction they choose. The three are all individuals and all have their personal strengths, weaknesses and uniqueness. As a family we embrace these differences, whether through robust and diverse dinner table conversations, listening to and valuing each other’s inputs, and challenging and supporting ideas and views, or by supporting each other in our different activities – career, education, cultural, recreation and sport.
Dan Wood | Manager - Public Sector Innovation, Business Consulting, EY: Many workplaces and service providers still hold an assumption that the default parent is female. This assumption needs to be broken from all angles, by all genders. In support of this, I’ve shared my story publicly both within workshops and during one-on-one conversations to provoke a conversation about the need for flexibility for all, to enable everyone to find an equitable balance between career and family, regardless of gender.
Sergio Cinerari | Chief Operating Officer – Australian Operations, Downer Group: I have three daughters and I try to always support their ideas and seek out their input. I don’t think I always get this right, but I know that this is important. In all situations away from work we should be listening more and inquiring deeper in order to make everyone feel their contributions are valued and important.
Robert Bedwell | CEO, J.P. Morgan, Australia and New Zealand: Gender balance is good for everyone. As a father of three young women, I believe strongly that men should be passionate advocates for gender equality, and take inspiration from the experiences of the women in their lives. I also believe, and it is proven, that organisations perform better when they embrace diversity and encourage different points of view.
I have two favourite sayings at home that I repeat often: (1) a problem shared is a problem halved and (2) it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s all about where you finish. This is my way of promoting the importance of psychological safety and shared perspective, being transparent and also being courageous and resilient.
Nick Blackwell | Project Manager, Woolworths Group: I can see how my organisation will prosper as it drives towards gender equality, and from a personal perspective, I see everyone in my family being the beneficiaries of this movement [...] With the kids, we always encourage their participation with household tasks, and mutual respect as a key value. I also like to talk with the kids about gender equality to foster a sense of allyship and commitment to this important topic.
Phil Fraser | CEO of QInsure, QSuper: I have been lucky enough to have grown up surrounded by positive, successful women, in my family and career. Now with two daughters, it is my job as a father and business leader to make sure the opportunities are, at a minimum, equal for them through their life and that they can be whatever they want to be, without having to even think about gender being a factor to them. Anything less would be a fail.
With two daughters and an older son, it is a perfect opportunity to role model that equality and fairness is the only way, with respect for his sisters and mom to be there at all times. My daughters are encouraged to be involved in whatever they see as important to them, supported to be whatever they want to be and that they know they can be. They are encouraged to make sure they have their own success and happiness, whatever that may be. My wife has a strong personality and is the leader of our home, so again hopefully a situation that is normal for our kids.
Are you a working parent too?
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About the author
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