International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day to recognise how far we’ve come towards gender equality, and also how far we have left to go to creating new social, economic and cultural codes for a gender equal future.
At AuSAE, we celebrate all women, in all their diversities. We embrace their facets and intersections of faith, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, or disability. We celebrate those who came before us, those who stand beside us now, and those who will come after.
We asked three association leaders, what is the most important message you want to share for the women thinking about their careers.
Lyn McMorran, President at AuSAE & Executive Director at the Financial Services Federation, shares, “As someone who has had a very long and satisfying career, I would say don’t sell yourself short. Australia has just announced legislation to require their large companies to report on their gender pay gap – New Zealand needs to follow suit. What really disturbs me is the fact that they have to because a gap still exists. The reasons for that are many but I think women are often so pleased to be given an opportunity that they either don’t consider what they are actually worth or are concerned that if they demand pay equity they might be disadvantaged in terms of further opportunities. As I said, things have changed a lot for the better in the decades I’ve been in my career – women are no longer passed over for senior development because they might leave and have babies, they’re no longer judged if they return to work from parental leave, nor are they (or at least I hope they’re not) judged on their appearance – but the fact that we are still having this conversation means that there is obviously still work to do. My hope for my generation’s daughters and granddaughters is that these conversations become no longer necessary.”
Lori Modde, CEO at Outdoors NSW & ACT, shares “Everyone should be empowered to create the life they want, they deserve this opportunity and nothing should stop that. Today’s world is removing so many barriers that existed in the past and your time is now, get out there, go make a difference in the world!
See what you can achieve, and you would have lost nothing by trying …. But I can guess you will surprise yourself as all it takes is that first step!”
Toni Brearley, CEO at AuSAE, shares, “I remember from a very young age my Dad telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be. In his mind there were no caveats to that and if there wasn’t a clear path then go out and make one. I didn’t realise at the time how fortunate I was to have a champion that dared me to dream and cheered me on matter what. Seek out opportunities where the people around you will cheer you on no matter what. Surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, who will champion you and who are truly inclusive. Where choice, no matter what your gender, background or beliefs is equal for everyone as this is where will have true equality - and if you can’t find that – go and make one!”
Find out how you can take action at www.unwomen.org.au