What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For us at Iceberg, the day is changing the perception of female leaders in Australia, and breaking through the gender stereotypes we often feel bound by.
In September 2017, it was recorded that only eleven of Australia’s top 200 companies had female CEO’s. Closing this leadership gap is critical in achieving the diversity and equality we need in the workplace. Basic human morals aside, it goes without saying that having a more diverse and equal workplace will see businesses benefit from enhanced productivity and profitability. More companies should be striving to have at least 30 – 35% of women on their board.
We also need to encourage women to find purpose in their roles, and strive for equality in learning and development. Women should be encouraged to up-skill (online, after work hours, short courses) throughout their career to ensure they do not become redundant in the workplace. As one of our #LeadingLadies Helen Souness puts it: “people will need to keep upgrading their skills to stay current and meet the future of work head on”. With a lifelong commitment to learning, women will be less disadvantaged when re-entering the workplace if they decide to take a break from their career to start a family or act as a carer for a relative.
Whilst gender inequality is pervasive, within the IT and tech industry it is particularly prominent. We need to continue to #PushforProgress to highlight the amazing work women are doing within an industry (like many) dominated by men. A great example of this is The Click List. Fed up of “manels”(male-only panels) at IT events, our #LeadingLady Anna Leibel and three other inspiring tech leaders launched this group to increase the exposure of female leaders within the industry.
Providing more flexible working options is also important (job sharing, part-time positions, seven day fortnights), not just for women but across the board. This is an initiative our #LeadingLadies at Beam Australia are spearheading, with co-Founders Steph and Vic highlighting how there are “many, many different pools of talent that are looking for more flexible, genuine part time career options”.
On a government level, there needs to be a greater push for more inclusive board appointments. The Victorian Government have set a great example – after introducing a rule requiring 50% of all board appointments to be women, women now hold 50 percent of all paid government board positions in Victoria.
Closing the gender pay gap is also essential. If you worked in the 60s and were female, by law you earned 25% less than a man did. Today, this pay divide is still sitting above 15%. Whether it is an education problem, an undervaluation problem, or cultural bias problem (or combination of all three and other factors) – individuals, companies and governments need to come together in order to progress.
Here at Iceberg we are inspired and surrounded by bold, influential and fearless women each and every day. Whilst we celebrate the amazing women around us and all we have achieved (and continue to achieve!), we look forward to continuing to #PushforProgress.
Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!
Photography by House of Sage.