Gender equality is not a women's issue
I was privileged to be the guest speaker for Telstra's Brilliant Connected Women Executive Luncheon this week.
The sessions follow the same format as the Time Magazine's interview series with the Forbes Top 50 Women and questions included, 'What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?' and 'What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?'.
As the former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, pointed out, 'Gender equality is not a women's issue. It's an economic and societal issue that effects all of us.' (1)
In Australia, closing the gap between male and female employment rates and increasing current employment rates of women would increase GDP by 11%. (2)
When women earn income, they reinvest 90% into their families, compared to 30 to 40% for a man. (2)
Sessions like Telstra's Brilliant Connected Women Executive provide a supportive environment for conversations around how to help change the situation and increase awareness.
A highlight of the session was the discussion was around the double standard women experience (particularly in interviews) when trying to sell their skills and experience. We are perceived negatively if we are regarded as taking all the credit, yet are considered 'not up to the task' if we crediting our teams too much. Some very practical ‘soft sell’ coaching was shared with the group.
Interestingly a consistent piece of feedback from the session was that they relished the opportunity to hear candidly that others were experiencing the same trials as them, no matter the size of the organisation or the industry it covered.
The discuss was candid, open and supportive and the women in attendance where incredibly generous in sharing their experiences. It was a very inspiring hour.
(1) - Fox C, 2017, Stop Fixing Women, New South Publishing, Australia, page 19
(2) - Women Donors, www.womendonors.org.au