Discussions about gender are always tricky. It seems impossible to hold someone up without making others feel that they are being overlooked.
But we do need to focus on women, especially when the stats and anecdotal evidence all point to a world where the gender imbalance is clear.
Think about the national gender pay gap which has been stuck between 15 per cent and 19 per cent for the past two decades. Or that Australia ranks only 48th in the world for representation of women in politics. Or that average superannuation balances of Australian women are just over half that of men.
There‘s lots of reasons why all this has come about – some historical and structural and others related to attitude, empowerment and labour market forces.
One of the positive statistics is the increase in the number of women on the boards of ASX-listed companies, growing from 8.3 per cent in 2009 to 26.2 per cent in 2017. But why and how did this come about? It was largely due to a diversity policy implemented by the ASX Corporate Governance Council in 2010. The point is we must be proACTIVE about change. Right now the gains don’t go deep or wide enough.
One of our clients proactively championing balance and diversity is the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC). Last September they signed a partnership agreement with the UK’s Meat Business Women (MBW) to develop the image, culture and landscape of the Australian meat industry to make it more attractive to female talent, to nurture new female entrants into the sector through education and mentoring and build connections and skill through networking opportunities.
The first Australian Meat Business Women event will be held on 3 April in Melbourne, and features a great line-up of speakers so if you or anyone you know is working in the meat industry please do join us. It is in supporting each other, learning together and giving each other the bravery and confidence to go forwards the benefits will be seen – for the entire industry. Learn more or register here.
Another of our clients, Syngenta, has joined other leading Australian agribusiness companies in support of the National Farmers Federation’s Diversity in Agricultural Leadership program, which also aims to enact change on gender diversity.