Rockhampton has many female leaders including Cr Rose Swadling, Cr Cherie Rutherford and Mayor Margaret Strelow as well as (top left) Brittany Lauga and Michelle Landry.
Rockhampton has many female leaders including Cr Rose Swadling, Cr Cherie Rutherford and Mayor Margaret Strelow as well as (top left) Brittany Lauga and Michelle Landry.

Lack of female leadership worries CQ women

CENTRAL Queensland women worried about economic security, family violence and a lack of female leaders in a recent State Government survey.

A number of females from across our region used the comments section in the Queensland Government's recent Women's Strategy survey to tell powerbrokers Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman about their concerns.

Of the 591 state-wide survey respondents, 548 were women.

They listed domestic, family and sexual abuse as their key concerns, while leadership, employment and the gender pay gap were also major worries.

One Yeppoon woman described how her elderly mother's financial situation was so dire she could only afford to buy "essentials".

"I feel she is one of the lucky ones, but feel sad that really in this day and age a woman's retirement security is still linked to her relationship," the woman in her 40s wrote.

"If Dad was still around, I do not think her position would be so dire."

Finances, violence and health worries led a middle-aged Glendale woman to call for more action.

"Long-term economic security for women is an issue," she wrote.

A middle-aged Adelaide Park resident urged that more high-profile positions be filled by women.

"Businesses and the community can encourage gender balance in leadership roles by providing … the option of part-time work to allow women with significant education, skills and talent to return to work with balanced work and home expectations," she wrote.

A Barmundu resident said gendered violence was also a major issue for the state.

"Gender equality is important to the Queensland community because the personal safety of women is now a national emergency," she wrote.

Ms Fentiman said the government was determined to fix gender issues in regional areas.

"I would love it if we didn't need a Women's Strategy, but with the gender pay gap now higher than 20 years ago, alarming levels of violence towards women, and greater barriers to work for women than men, it is clear more action is needed," Ms Fentiman said.

"We know that there are particular issues for regional women in terms of access to services, and often options to access leadership opportunities are more limited than in metropolitan areas.

"Our strategy … will benefit regional women as we develop our campaign to promote gender equality."

She said it would include auditing gender pay inequity, and a fund for improving women's access to non-traditional careers, including the mining and resources sector.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support, call the national hotline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.