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Aiming for real change


Celebrating women in our sector is more than a collection of individuals, it’s about creating a community, write Samantha Bowen and Amanda Terranova.

Fed up with the negativity surrounding aged care and driven to acknowledge the more than 80 per cent of women in the aged care workforce in Australia, we started the hashtag #Celebratingwomeninagedcare on January 1 this year,

The inspiration came in part from Dr Kirsten Ferguson’s #celebratingwomen Campaign, which honoured both of us in 2017. But it was more than that.

Amanda Terranova

Over many late night conversations about what we wanted to do and why, the answer was very simple for us. We both named so many women that we are proud to know, work with or have been inspired by.

We were also driven by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2017-18 Data Snapshot including the incongruencies in women in leadership positions and still the gap in pay equity.

The difference in average total remuneration between men and women working in the health and social services sector was reported as $16,427 in the 2017-18 period.

Although the campaign originated in Australia, nine countries have been represented so far including the UK, USA, India, Sweden and Tanzania.

The diversity of contributions and experiences are amazing, and sometimes the stories make us cry but it’s the universal sense of connection and community that make us jump out of bed every day ready to celebrate another woman.

Samantha Bowen

The online campaign across the daily social media channels hopes to raise awareness about the many and varied opportunities on how to contribute to the care of others in a meaningful way.

The campaign specifically asks women to describe what and how they contribute, rather than focusing on job titles. Women working in information technology, administration and architecture plus lawyers, social entrepreneurs and speech pathologists are among the many who have been celebrated to date.

We approached with Nikki Beckman, a research-based architect, to ask why she hadn’t nominated herself for the campaign. She responded that she didn’t think it applied to her.

To us, Nikki is one of the most passionate and empathetic people working in aged care and we encouraged her to reconsider. She was featured this week as profile #63.

Grace

Today, on International Women’s Day, #Celebratingwomeninagedcare celebrates Grace (profile #67). Grace is a nurse with a passion for aged care. She says:

“No amount of money can pay for the joy we share with our care recipients and families, the tears we cry when our friends breathe their last.

“No money can pay for the hugs and laughs we share with colleagues and families. Aged care isn’t a career, it is a calling.”

Our campaign is more than a collection of individuals. It’s a growing community of people commenting, sharing, and gathering around our shared passion to work with and build better services and supports for our elders.

Everyone who stops to comment on, like or share a post reaffirms our belief that aged care is not just a pile of mistakes. We are an opportunity to celebrate the good in our communities every single day.

The theme of today’s International Women’s Day campaign is #BalanceforBetter. It’s calling on us all to build a gender-balanced world together.

We are reminded of comments from Dr Victor Sojo from the Centre for Workplace Leadership. He says more men will need to fill the roles historically held by women if we are going to grow the aged care workforce to meet future demand.

In addition to celebrating some of the many amazing women in aged care, perhaps our campaign can also ignite a fire and attract more men into the aged care industry.

Isn’t that an interesting idea to discuss on International Women’s Day? If you are interested in starting one, let us know and we can share your posts.

Samantha Bowen is founder of Acorn Network and Amanda Terranova is director of marketing and brand at Mirus Australia.

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8 March.

Comment below to have your say on this story

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5 Responses to Aiming for real change

  1. Luke Downing March 8, 2019 at 10:57 am #

    Interesting focus when thousands of older Australians are suffering abuse in residential care.

  2. Amanda Terranova March 8, 2019 at 12:08 pm #

    Thanks so much for reading Luke – definitely not a focus but awareness about the amazing people who work every day to provide care in so many ways. We never forget the people at the very centre who receive this care and let’s all strive to make care better – each of us has a responsibility in the communities that we live and work in.

  3. Caroline March 10, 2019 at 11:36 pm #

    I celebrate this campaign as it redefines who works in aged care. We must also celebrate women who for many reasons cannot nominate themselves.

    #BalanceforBetter makes me reflect on gender-balance in aged care not in terms of work options but for its lack of opportunities and vulnerability for a segment of the workforce.

  4. John Armstrong March 11, 2019 at 11:55 am #

    Why should there be a gender balance in every work place? Shouldn’t people be employed for their talents (Buckingham & Coffman), & not their gonads? Are you really wanting to socially engineer people into roles they do not want nor are interested in performing? Won’t that produce a caring environment in aged care facilities! Will there be a gender balance in coal mines and oil rigs? Perhaps you would be better studying objective social science rather than imposing “religious” ideological imperatives on the structures of society – including human services.

  5. Pat March 11, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

    I don’t think gender balance will make any difference to those who need care. Are providers rotting the system of Aged Care Packages by padding their slice of Government funds? Checking statements sent to my mother I was shocked to see how much she had to pay for ‘ services’ she received through the Provider. Every item checked showed an unreasonable amount going to Administration e.g. Cutting lawns $100 per month from her funds, when any private service would do it for half the price. Where does that $50 go and how many other ways do they pad a share of Govt. funds?

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