When ANZ invited me to hear The Hon. Julia Gillard, tennis great Martina Navratilova and former Chief of Army, General David Morrison speak I was all ears. Putting such a panel together means that they had something ‘big’ to share in the ANZ Women’s Report.
Primarily ANZ is asking the question; “Are our systems, and processes designed to disadvantage half of our population?” Could they start a movement to redesign systems to help women succeed?
I have written about this before arguing that we need a balanced voice in all aspects of our community.
During the launch, we heard from former Prime Minister, The Hon. Julia Gillard, tennis great Martina Navratilova and former Chief of Army, General David Morrison. They all shared their thoughts and experiences on the important role that women play in all areas of society, and how together we can re-shape the future for generations of women to come.
One of the more powerful moments of the launch revealed this collaboration with Joyce Phillips and Jane Campion:
The most sobering moment for me, was when the beautiful 8 year old Japanese girl Mahiro Takaho, who has a Karate Black Belt, shouts “Enough!!” – what a strong and fierce message; a reminder of the need to act now for change – something that ANZ is working so hard on and is evident in their Super pay reforms announced this week.
The behind the scenes video is even more sobering as Jane Campion shares the statistics with the girls – their emotions, thoughts and reflections (even at such a young age) about the blatant inequalities in pay and super rates between males and females, allows a forced reflection on society. There is an old phrase “out of the mouths of babes” that we often chuckle about – often our kids tell us the truth about things in such a naive and unawares way – but despite their naivety, they do tell the truth albeit in a very black and white manner. But there is something to be listened to there.
One of the girls argues that “It is up to us to make that change. We can’t expect to click our fingers”. She is wise beyond her years…This is a reminder for me, as I am an agitator for a balanced voice, and also that “If it is meant to be, it is up to me.” We need to be empowered women and leaders in our society to lobby for change – it will not be given to us. But there is also a place for men to lead the way forward in this shift to demand a balanced voice. A path forward can not be forged without an entire society approach – initiatives like ANZ has launched this week would not be possible without an entire organisation of support. Male leaders in the organisation such as Mark Whelan, the CEO of Australia are the key powerful voices behind the movement. We need more of this.
Social media shared the power of the message during the day from key people such as Mark:
One comment in particular has stuck with me the remainder of this week, and it was from Julia Gillard: “What a spectacular achievement this is: Australian girls start their lives with equal access to learning and all the opportunities that brings. So what goes wrong? Why is it that as soon as girls leave the education system, their prospects start to diminish?”
One of the most alarming statistics in the ANZ report was that women earn four percent less in their first graduate job than men with the same qualification. Why is this? Do women fight less for the salary package that their male counterparts do? I find it hard to believe that HR professionals setting salary packages with Partners do not blink twice about this.
And it gets worse: The landmark report details that a full time working woman will earn $295 per week less on average than a full time working man. That is $15,000 over the course of a year. Extended over the course of a typical 45 year career, that gap becomes a staggering $700,000.
But we can not afford to dwell on these numbers. I have said this before: YOU are the change and you are the voice. Teach your daughters (and sons) about the need for a balanced voice; give them all the opportunities you can think of to share their views. There are opportunities for a balanced voice, and we must see these for what they are. I am very passionate about balanced voice – not one voice or the other.
In closing, our former Prime Minister notes:
“We have no hope of rectifying inequality if we do not fully understand what drives it.This will require us to seek out answers on inequality, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.”
I highly recommend that you take the time to read the speech in full. She has a very compelling argument and statistics to support it.
(PS why is this important to me? – my daughter and all her friends will graduate university in the next year or so – and I ask myself the question: will the work place – and the opportunities available to them, be any different than the one I entered thirty years ago?…Seriously, this is a community issue – not a women’s issue – clever people can put their heads together and make a real difference…. finally!)