According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency analysis, almost half of the employers who undertook a pay gap analysis last year took no actions to address the inequities they uncovered. Chief Executive Women recently reported the dearth of women in leadership or pathways to leadership. There are only 18 women CEOs among ASX300 companies.
“Our response demonstrated that fundamental change on a global scale is not only possible, it can be achieved faster than anyone could ever have previously imagined.”
Sunita Gloster, Gloster Advisory
Graduate pay gap studies continue to show females earn less than their male peers, setting an unequal trajectory for their financial future.
It seems unfathomable that Afghanistan’s new government restrict education for girls. That in the US, there is even a debate, let alone a fierce legal battle of the rights of a woman when it comes to abortion.
It’s been a full 76 years after equality between men and women was enshrined in the UN Charter, yet not a single country has achieved gender parity.
I come back to Ms Walsh, and hope.
Hope is a desire to want something to be true, to happen. Hope can motivate us to take steps to achieve change. Imagining something hopeful gives us moments of happiness. It makes present difficulties easier to bear.
The good news is, hope and change is in the air.
What gets measured gets improved. There are still research gaps on important linkages that shape inequalities, but there is progress. The narrative now has more proof points that table actions on equal opportunities, rights, responsibilities and protections.
Paradoxically, our reaction to COVID is also reason for hope. Our response demonstrated that fundamental change on a global scale is not only possible, it can be achieved faster than anyone could ever have previously imagined. How quickly did we unlearn deeply-entrenched habits in every corner of our societies and find new ways to live and work? We reimagined, restructured, innovated, adapted and repurposed systems we’d built to become systems we need.
It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t comfortable. Most of the time it wasn’t fun. But we did it. The whole world did it. Because we had to. Lives, livelihoods depended on it.
Why can’t we orchestrate a COVID-style response to gender inequality?
This year courageous young women like Grace Tame have taken the lead and broken the culture of silence to demand we talk about the unspeakable, giving hope to those that have felt muted and courage to many to demand justice.
Conversations are happening. About healthy relationships, consent, sexual harassment, inequalities and change – in our classrooms, lounge rooms, offices and all the way up the hill.
In line with this, UN Women Australia have today created an opportunity for girls to join the movement for an equal future. #EmpowerMoves invites girls to recreate a Tik Tok dance using carefully choreographed sequence of basic self-defence actions. It’s a small but positive step towards not only personal confidence, but a greater awareness of the larger social issue many females face every day.
It’s a way for girls to show their determination for a better future.
So today let us demand action so she’ll be right.
Show our girls that we are listening to them, believe in them and champion their empowerment.
Your gender will not define your life’s outcomes, that’s the hope our girls need.
Sunita Gloster is CEO Gloster Advisory, a senior adviser for Accenture Australia and adviser to UN Women Australia.