How close are we to parity in 2016?

We were so grateful to welcome CEO of Harcourts & Founder of Links Fiji as a panellist/speaker at our inaugural International Women's Day Event as held in Melbourne on 8 March 2016, in support of m.a.d.woman foundation  (you can read more about the amazing fund-raising results achieved, plus view pics from the event HERE!) 

Given the IWD2016 theme "Pledge for Parity", Sadhana Smiles shares an excerpt on the subject of parity for us all to consider... How can you "make a difference?"

How much closer are we to parity in 2016?

  • The pay gap in Australia is at its widest ever, currently at just under 19%
  • This disparity in the pay gap impacts a woman’s ability to obtain a home loan or save a deposit for a home/investment
  • One woman per week is killed by her partner or someone known to her
  • Domestic violence is the main cause of homelessness for women & children in Australia (White Ribbon)
  • Diversity of women in the workplace is not representative of our communities
  • Women retire on 1/3 less superannuation than their male counterparts (Human Rights Commission)
  • 40% of women retirees, claim their main source of income as government pension. They make up 55.7% of the age pension recipients (ABS)
  • Women are still sexualised in advertising, by men, the men she works with & business leaders

"The issue of gender equality is not unique to Australia, it is a global issue which, according to The World Economic Forum, will take until 2133 to entirely close the economic gender gap & gain gender parity in areas such as economics, politics, education & health.

For those who are business leaders & managers across the globe, it is our responsibility to ensure we have balanced leadership structures & boards, not only in regards to gender but also ethnic diversity. We must focus on creating environments where women will thrive, be ambitious, gain success - without the concerns of being labelled, bullied or having workplace bias, colour, cultural background & pregnancy impact career progression.

This form of leadership, however, needs to be thought out, focused & produce decisions that are deliberate. We need leaders who will be brave, take the lead; who will speak up & speak out & who will commit to taking actions.

Australia is a melting pot of people from all ethnic backgrounds, they in turn have cultural influences in our communities & businesses. Yet in many of our business we are often surrounded by white male baby boomers. Taking into account past migration trends & the current global climate of influences out of China, the next wave perhaps being India & then Indonesia, we need to ensure that our businesses are a reflection of the communities we live in.

A lack of diversity in gender &/or race means that we are stifling our innovation, creativity & thinking as well as the important cultural nuances of doing business off-shore. Consider what impact will this have on business long term?

If you are a male reading this article, understand that you have a role to play in how the issue of gender balance is resolved. It’s simple reality, there are more men in leadership roles than women & you have the power to make decisions that will drive change in your business. We need you to become our champions, our ambassadors.

We need to tackle this issue together, side-by-side as partners working together to create better businesses, workplaces, products, cultures & future leaders. However, most importantly, we need to leave behind a legacy we can be proud of for our sons & our daughters. 

I believe the future is one where we do have gender balance, where our businesses are as diverse as the communities we work in & that business leaders who don’t embrace this will run the risk of their businesses becoming obsolete. However, I do not want to wait until 2133 to achieve this. The world is getting smaller, we are more connected than ever before, individual influence & reach is greater - all of this enables rapid change. If we don’t pledge for parity now & make deliberate necessary changes, when will we? If we don’t take responsibility for equality, why would future generations?

Let’s not wait until governments start to legislate for quotas & targets, deep down we all know this is not the right option. We don’t want to operate in a world where equality & diversity is forced upon us, where we will have to tick boxes on who we hire & therefore possibly allowing merit to become secondary as gender becomes the priority to meet a required number."

Sadhana Smiles, CEO Harcourts Victoria (March 2016)

 

How will you pledge for parity in 2016?

What conversations will you start; who you will influence; what changes will 
you make in your organisations; who will you mentor & elevate?

How will you consciously make decisions this year that will be great for business, 
remarkable for humanity, memorable for future generations & simply good for your soul?

#EventSuccess  #MakeADifference  #IWD2016  #PledgeForParity  #WomensDay

International Women's Day Event 2016 - featuring Turia Pitt, Sadhana Smiles, supporting m.a.d.woman foundation

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