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Hey!! Before your start throwing stones at glasshouses. I am a women, I am also to blame.

Australia’s ever growing gender gap has huge implications on the longer-term cost to society. I have met many senior professionals committed to producing equity within the senior ranks of the Australian work place. Here in lies the problem.

I have some thoughts on what this means and looks like for women climbing the corporate ladder. It’s not the senior’s who sit in their ivory towers that face this real issue it’s the young professional women who have inherited this problem.

Here’s a question, its open for debate “how will we know when the gender parity has been reached across the Australian workforce and how will we measure the key indicators?”

The biggest concern is the need for more men & women on boards to support the programs invested in graduate hiring whilst setting equal pay bands & pay scales at the start of a young women’s career.

The social ecology of our time dose not support enough businesses to design programmes that support the pipeline of young women staying within organisations and achieving great things.

I believe corporations need to look at flexible working hours. And not just for women.

The latest WGEA report highlighted a 25% gap between females and males in the finance industry alone.

I personally experienced the injustice of the gender gap whilst working in the corporate sector, being paid a shameful 35% less than market average.

I then spent my time working towards what I should have been paid in the first place, to only leave and set up my own business.

Clearly, this presents a disincentive for talented women to stay within an organisation or stay on the corporate ladder. I know I certainly did struggle to achieve great things knowing I wasn’t valued for my expertise.

It was my fault – I didn’t speak up & out for fear of rocking the boat or loosing my job. I didn’t value what I was worth and therefor no one else did either. I personal aided the problem we have today, by settling for below average standards.

NSW has a shocking figure of only 25% Australian women earning $100,000+ per annum, 16% in Queensland and 20% in Victoria. It is also important to note there are only a few female CEOs currently on the ASX500.

I gravely ask the question, has this been a political move or did it come down to pure talent?

Do we need great women role models for our younger inspiring women?

A major concern is the downward effects of gender pay equality.  The gap is much bigger at the bottom of the corporate ladder than the top. Perhaps, the cause is much better served by closing the pay gap at the bottom of the ladder until an equilibrium point is reached where men and women are paid the same on entering the corporate arena – Its just a thought, a longer term strategy, that gets to the cause rather than placing a band aid on the issue.

So do we need to look at the way we feed the pipeline of women climbing the corporate ladder?

Australia has 2.2 million people living below the poverty line; the majority are women working in service-based industries. Why is this?

There is a strong argument towards addressing the pay gap at the bottom of the ladder rather than pushing a few women to the top. I argue that the latter excludes the majority of women on the way up who may drop off due to lack of support, personal circumstances that’s just the cause and effect of our current situation.

Interestingly, more and more women leave the corporate sector to start up their own businesses to get the sense of fulfillment, achievement and work-life balance that they could not obtain in corporate life.

You can put me into this box, although I am on a steep learning curve to mastering my own dominion it satisfies, all fundamental requirements.

Another viewpoint shows that executives clock up 60 to 70 hour each week. As a woman who is likely to be running a household, how does one juggle a stressful, time-consuming corporate gig with familial responsibilities? The current system is not designed to support these practicalities for both men & women.

Is there an opening here to set up new markets for products/services to support this, in terms of creating more jobs and/or social responsible infrastructure?

So, is it a deeper sociality issue? Do we need more equality in the household?

There are many issues that need to be addressed for change to occur. The UK has set a goal of 40% increase of women at board level by 2017.  If Australia had a goal to help women progress and be seen in the top jobs, would this help build the pipeline? Or would this seduce a political cesspool.

Are targets the answer? Should corporations be made to set targets?

Targets are measurable; what is measured is action. Things get done and the shift starts to happen. The world bank released some figures explaining that if we progress at the rate we currently do, it will take Australia 174 years to reach desired levels of equality and the rest of the world 800 years.

Targets set the vision; they do not support the journey for change. You and I support the change, by understanding our worth, teaching this to the younger generations and not settling for lower than average standards.

It’s not a duty; it’s a calling to support each other & our daughters. That’s how we will reach measurable targets.


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