To mark International Women’s Day 2020, I had the honour of joining women from Women in Banking Finance for the ASX market open bell-ringing. It was a moment to reflect on the importance of International Women’s Day to celebrate the achievements for women in Australia and globally. One thing we can be proud of is the high numbers of women who now complete school and university in Australia.
But International Women’s Day also prompts us to think about the continuing challenges we face, including why we don’t see women going on to leadership roles in the same numbers as men, why women aren’t being promoted at the same rate, why only 17% of CEOs in Australia are women, and why women are still earning less than men to do the same role.
In 2018, the Sydney Women’s Fund, where I’m on the advisory board, commissioned some research on women in Sydney. It found that 48% of Sydney women earn less than $34,000 per year. It’s hard to feel in charge of your life when you’re struggling to survive! As a highly educated, wealthy nation, Australia can and must do better.
The 2020 global theme of Generation Equality is a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a world where every girl and woman has equal opportunities to fulfil their full potential.
McCarthy Mentoring is proud to enable and encourage women to achieve their goals and consider their pathways to leadership.
Our programs support women to articulate their goals and to think about their career plans. Some people haven’t thought about it, some are too scared to articulate it, while others hope they might just get a tap on the shoulder. If you’re clear on what you want to do, you’ve got a better chance of achieving it, and other people are more likely to support you.
At the same time, we know that when people don’t have role models in their organisation that look like them, it holds them back.
Qantas is a good example. When more women joined the leadership team in 2010, the whole dial changed. Pathways to leadership suddenly became visible for women and the culture shifted. We were engaged to run a Women@Qantas Mentoring Program for emerging female leaders which saw 60% of participants promoted within 12 months. To quote the motto of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: if she can see it, she can be it.
McCarthy Mentoring is committed to a world where people can fulfil their potential and participate regardless of their gender. We know diversity is good for business and for our community, but we need to continually push for social change to achieve true equity. What are your organisation’s policies and programs around equal pay and how many women hold leadership roles? We can all do better.
Sophie McCarthy, Executive Director, 9 March 2020