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Monday, March 24, 2014

Working women must stop blaming men for their troubles.

Says Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr who has ‘never been discriminated against’

It takes a lot of guts to come out and say that in the current climate.

I don’t remember the other junior male reporters being given better stories than me.
They were learning too. Some days I got a good story, other days the boys did. They were the days where the producer yelled at you if you stuffed up a story, and I can tell you it was ­definitely equal opportunity yelling.
I yelled back when I thought I was right, and I went home with my tail ­between my legs when I missed something the other journos had in their stories.
When my contract was up I forced myself to walk in and ask for a better deal.
Not a lot of women I know jump for joy when they have to negotiate with the boss but I don’t think that’s the boss’s fault.
Isn’t it ours? I chose to take just a few months off after I had each of my boys.
I wasn’t earning much but I sat down with my husband and we decided that it was worth taking a financial hit, paying a big chunk of my wage on childcare.
Our reasoning was if I kept working and was able to climb up the ladder, I might get paid more.
I’ve always thought that if you take years off work to raise your kids, whether you’re a man or a woman, it’ll be hard to get back into the workforce and certainly at the level you were before.
It’s great that many ­people have the choice to stay home with their children, but I also personally ­believe each choice we make comes with consequences that we have to live with.
For 11 years I’ve worked with some exceptional men on Sunrise.
I don’t know what they get paid.
They don’t know what I get paid.
But if I felt undervalued and ripped off, I’d leave.
I know there are many women out there who are trapped in situations where they do feel disadvantaged, discriminated against and overlooked because they are women.
In no way am I underestimating their pain and frustration and helplessness and the need for change in ­industries where that’s ­happening.
In the past few weeks though, I’ve felt that there has been a growing tide of women attacking men in general.
I’m starting to wonder if many of us need to find a better drum to beat than the one that blames men for most of our problems.
Isn’t it about time we took some ownership?
If a man got the job ahead of you, was it because he was better?
That can’t be impossible … can it?
Should we be brutally honest with ourselves and ask if we need to change the way we approach things?
I just don’t think “us” against “them” helps anybody in the long run.

Natalie Barr is the news presenter on Channel Seven’s Sunrise.

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