Newsroom Archive: May 2015
25 May 2015
21 May 2015
Two months after Category 5 Cyclone Pam devastated crops and infrastructure throughout Vanuatu’s main island of Efate, re-planting and reconstruction are underway.
The majority of market vendors in Vanuatu are women, most of whom grow the produce they sell. The cyclone destroyed up to 90% of crops on affected islands and left up to 75,000 people needing temporary shelter, meaning many women lost their homes and sole source of income in one blow.
Immediately following the cyclone, UN Women deployed people and resources to work with women market vendors and formally assess their needs.
In the weeks following the cyclone, market vendors were relocated to Marobe Market, on the outskirts of the capital. UN Women worked alongside local and provincial governments to ensure safety and negotiate rent relief for stall holders, while immediate repair work to the Port Vila Central Market was completed.
With the Central Market now reopened, UN Women is focused on ensuring women market vendors have direct access to seeds, gardening advice and supplies. This ensures that women can replant sufficient crops to both replenish their family’s needs, and build up supply to sell through their market stalls.
As part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project and “Getting Started” workshops, market vendors’ associations were actively involved in getting the markets up and running following Cyclone Pam. The associations work to ensure markets are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, part of which is creating effective governance mechanisms that represent the needs and perspectives of market vendors, particularly women.
Through its Markets for Change project, UN Women is working with market vendors, market councils, provincial and national governments in Vanuatu, as well as the Australian Government, to help women restore their livelihoods and build resilience to future external shocks like Cyclone Pam.
11 May 2015
The Australian National Committee for UN Women and Autopia today released a White Paper about ‘Merit’. National Committee Executive Director Julie McKay joined business leaders in a conversation about the need to dispel the myth of merit in our workplaces, and challenged an audience of more than 100 businesses to take steps to ensure that their recruitment and promotion processes take into consideration the inherent biases faced by women in our workplaces.
The report finds that consistently, when one talks to men and women about why there are so few women in leadership roles in Australia, they will cite ‘merit’ as the reason. The Australian National Committee for UN Women and Autopia, like many other businesses in Australia and globally, refuse to believe that women have less merit than men. The report finds that the merit process is flawed.
“We suggest those who view Australia as a functioning meritocracy are failing to understand the limits of our own conceptions of merit, which involve a range of biases that discriminate against women and other diverse groups in employment practices in Australian business. We hope to start a new conversation about our overly simplistic view of ‘merit’ and its impact on women’s access to leadership roles” said Julie McKay, Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women.
The report calls for businesses to reassess how they measure and reward merit and design and deliver on targets that encourage diversity and flexibility in the workforce. The report calls on business leaders and managers at every level of every organisation in Australia to address unconcious bias in order to ensure another generation doesn’t slip by with insignificant change.