Zonta Club members Imee Matheson and Carmel Murdoch catch up with former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates (centre) at Maryborough’s International Women’s Day breakfast.
Zonta Club members Imee Matheson and Carmel Murdoch catch up with former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates (centre) at Maryborough’s International Women’s Day breakfast. Loretta Bryce

Tough choices for working women

WOMEN’S rights advocates should stop trying to “pussify” the workplace to give women a better chance if they want to go up the ladder.

That was the choke-on-your-chicken start to former Chronicle editor Nancy Bates’ UDIA International Women’s Day lunch speech at the Hervey Bay Boat Club yesterday.

“Women bring incredible organisational skills and balance into the workforce but not all have the testosterone levels needed to lead the fight in a tough, competitive market.

“It’s not about intelligence. In IQ surveys women’s intelligence levels run about three per cent above males. It’s about desire to focus intently on what has been a traditional male field at the expense of home and motherhood.”

Ms Bates, Australia’s longest serving daily editor, said we should take on board the cool, tough decisions of someone like Julia Gillard, who decided to have a career and not children because she didn’t believe she could give enough of herself to do both well.

“Women are making choices all about what their roles would be in the workforce and rights advocates should not be trying to push them up the ladder if they do not want to go there. They should be respected for the contribution they make, whether it is for organisational skills as an administration worker or for giving all their attention to the most important job – that of raising the next generation.”

Earlier in the day, Ms Bates had a similar affect on her breakfast audience at Maryborough Zonta Club’s breakfast.

“Women voters more concerned with the colour of their curtains than the quality of their politicians have to take responsibility for the dumbing down of politics.

“Too many women today fulfil predictions that they are too empty-headed to vote because they are distracted by frenzied lives where image is all-important.

“They have become victims to mass merchandising and manipulated by snake oil salesmen in politics and corporations.

“Is the women’s vote responsible for the dumbing down of politics? If not, who is being influenced by media spin and gloss-overs that insult the intelligence of anyone who stops long enough to think it through? No one bothers with onerous detail today because we have demanded the media feed us the frivolous stories rather than weighty issues that are just too tiresome.”

She said women had created tacky media voyeurism: prying into the private lives of the rich and famous – and the steamier the better – is big, big business.



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