The University of Newcastle, Australia

Making the choice to drive change

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

With gender equity gaining more attention than ever before, the focus has moved to a more holistic view where both women and men have a critical role to play in challenging the status quo, and the benefits are both real and immediate.

In terms of family responsibilities, more and more it is being acknowledged that both women and men may have caring and other responsibilities outside of work. Gender divisions that have presumed that women had the role of being the primary carer are being challenged and both men and women have the opportunity to play a key role in their family whilst also being able to pursue a rewarding career.

HR Services’ Dylan Mitchell became a father in February 2018. After the birth of his son, Dylan took his two week’s paid partner leave and then a combination of other leave, allowing him to be present at home for the first three months of his son’s life.

Taking advantage of the University’s options for requesting flexible work arrangements, Dylan returned to work after parental leave in a part time (0.6 FTE) capacity for the remainder of the year.

Dylan with his partner and son“It’s fair to say this year has been one of immense personal growth for me and my family,” Dylan said.

“I’ve been on the fast-track to gaining empathy for other working parents and while I certainly haven’t cracked the code to being a new parent, I do feel like my partner and I are both making an important investment of time and care in our son’s life, which is priceless,” Dylan said.

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I fully appreciate that the options available to me at the University are very generous and not necessarily the norm elsewhere.”

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President - Global Engagement and Partnerships, Associate Professor Kevin Hall said flexible and supportive leaders and managers are key to ensuring that UON achieves the best possible match between the interests of the organisation and the individual, for mutual benefit.

“People like Dylan are showing others that there are flexible options available for both men and women at UON,” Associate Professor Kevin Hall said.

“But our 2018 data shows that Dylan is still very much the exception and that the balancing of work and family responsibilities still falls more to women than to men.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the societal benefits that will flow from more UON men choosing to take on or contribute to responsibilities outside of work. Supporting all employees to achieve the balance between work and life is essential to achieving a rewarding and productive workplace,” Kevin said.

*Photos by Little Kite Photography

Related news