On 2017’s International Women’s Day, around fifty individuals gathered at the Old Treasury Building in Melbourne to participate in The 100% Project’s celebration. The event centered around a panel discussion, with a group of highly accomplished individuals discussing their experiences in making gender headway here in Australia.
Moderated by experienced facilitator and board director Marion Macleod, the panel comprised:
- Laura Chisholm, CEO of Inlight Media
- Richard Dent, CEO of Leadership Victoria; and
- Sarah Davies, CEO of Philanthropy Australia.
Drawing upon their own personal and professional lives, the panel shared insights into how they’ve recognised the barriers preventing equal representation in the workforce. Their insights were further encouraged by contributions from the audience, delivered through real-time messaging of questions for the group to discuss.
Inclusion at work
The panel discussed practices that encourage diversity, from recognising privilege to the different yet equally powerful capabilities of introverts, and a review of recruitment processes can help towards working for a more diverse, inclusive workplace culture.
Accepting different leadership styles
Another key theme throughout the night was on the characteristics of a good leader. Women are often told to be more assertive at work; however, the panel arrived to similar conclusions of leadership being an activity, and to avoid attributing characteristics to a certain gender.
“Julius Caesar as a model of leadership just doesn’t work in today’s world.”
– Richard Dent, CEO of Leadership Victoria
The right to choose
Men also struggle with stereotyping, which can make it challenging for them to adopt carer roles at home. So while we are in the process of creating more opportunities for women at work, the discussion also noted the need to involve men in the conversation on workplace initiatives.
The night was a celebration of the many accomplishments made possible by the women’s rights movement. However, it was also an opportunity to reflect on the next steps to improve the state of leadership in Australia, for both sexes.
The next The 100% Project event will be held in Brisbane Apr 20th, to review the Men@Work research report and various gender equity programs that can help to improve the adoption of flexible work policies for women and men.