Next Episode of Insight is
Australian current affairs forum, with lively debate and powerful first-person stories. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie.
Dowry practices are alive and well in Australia, not only in sections of the Indian community, but dowry or bride price is widespread amongst the African and Islamic communities too.
In Melbourne, South Sudanese man Chol Goch was proud to negotiate and pay a high price for his new wife Ajah Wuoi. Ajah grew up expecting a dowry and felt more respected by her community after she recently brought in the price of $70,000.
Salpha Dut, from the same community, has been working 11 hours a day, seven days a week for the past three years in Hobart to save up for his wife who is waiting for him to afford the dowry of 250 cows before her family will let her move to Australia. Despite the hardship, Salpha doesn't have a problem with paying for a wife.
But not everyone within the community is happy to accept the traditional way of doing things without challenging it. South Sudanese lawyer Nyadol Nyuon is against dowry and says it promotes gender imbalance. She'd like to see it abolished but she recently married and accepted her husband paying a large price for her to keep her family happy. She says this highlights the cultural clash within new communities in Australia as they negotiate old traditions in a new setting.
In Sydney, Sheron Sultan, a model from a South African background, asked her Austrian boyfriend Nick Toth to pay lobola, the bride price, as she wanted to uphold her culture and keep her ancestors and family happy. But the couple struggled with the concept of paying for a wife until they interpreted the tradition in a new way to make it their own.
Similarly in Brisbane, Naseema Mustapha personalised her Islamic dowry by requesting her husband-to-be Mohamed to buy and slaughter a goat to cook it and feed the poor. And we hear from a young Indian woman in Melbourne, Roopa, who describes how the dowry custom destroyed her arranged marriage.
This week on Insight we examine the future of dowry in Australia and hear the stories of new communities struggling with old traditions.
Navigating the workplace with a mental illness can be challenging.
Do you tell your boss about an illness? If you do, how will they react? And, what happens if your mental illness might affect your ability to do the job?
Dave Westgate was hesitant to tell his boss out of concern his corporate career would be killed with kindness.
His feared reaction: "We won't put Dave on the next big pitch or whatever because it might be too much pressure for him."
For Carol Scherret, choosing to disclose her mental illness hasn't always helped her in the workplace.
"I'm either asked to leave, I leave because I'm sick … and some places have taken the opportunity when I'm off sick to restructure and then sort of say … 'there's no job for you anymore'."
John McCormack, a NSW paramedic, says he worried about his decision-making at work when he was struggling with a mental illness: "When I was at my worst, I would get complaints that I was rude and abrupt."
Mental illness can be difficult territory for employers too.
For small business owners like Alex Colls, the adjustments required to support people with a mental illness can negatively impact the bottom line.
"Absenteeism … crept up to about 50 per cent which hurt such a small team on such a regular basis."
And for others, like Andrew Campbell, it's about ensuring that employees in the construction industry are well enough to stay safe on the job.
"Because our industry is so high risk, you know, the last thing we want is someone that's not doing well that day and going to a high risk job and die because of it."
The prevalence of Australians living with a mental illness means that this is an issue that both employees and employers are increasingly dealing with.
An employee's mental health impacts business profit too. It's estimated that mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces $10.9 billion dollars each year. And for approximately every $1 a workplace spends on mental health, they'll see a $2.30 return on the investment.
This week Insight hears from employees and employers about how mental illness is being managed in the workplace. And asks, how can it be better managed?
Jenny Brockie(Jenny Brockie)
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