THE GENDER GAP TIPPING POINT. Could Perth lead the way?

Gender diversity

We have gone backwards.

It’s going to take 170 years for women to reach global pay parity. Australia has declined to 46th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index.

Just when I thought things were changing.

Last year, the Committee for Perth launched ‘Filling the Pool’, a landmark report with a blueprint and roadmap for achieving gender equality in the city. Its CEO Marion Fulker has done a tremendous job championing change in Perth. That report has become a foundation for change and has inspired a number of businesses, including mine.

So how can we accelerate the speed of change? I don’t know about you but I can’t wait 170 years.
While we lag behind on the Australian gender equality metrics, Western Australia has a unique opportunity. We could be the one to start something. Small actions which can bring us to the tipping point where little things can make a big difference. The magic moment when we cross a threshold and it spreads like wildfire. Could Perth lead the way?

This is the first in a three-part series about what we can do to get there.

Part one starts with you, the individual

Here are three ways you can contribute to accelerating gender equality.

1. Invest in yourself

This is a biggie.
Gender equality in the workplace starts with you. To unleash your potential, you need to see your potential. You need to start with the end goal in mind.

Investing in yourself is knowing your strengths and how to harness and develop them. It’s also recognising opportunities to develop. This is the time to challenge yourself and get rid of the limiting beliefs which hold you back.

Look for opportunities to enlarge yourself and invest in you. From leadership training, to reading self development books or blogs. The content is out there; all you need to do is look. Or, investing in yourself may take the form of further education – maybe an MBA is right for you, or perhaps a short course in your field of expertise.

I’m a big believer in coaching, mentoring and sponsorship. What’s the difference you ask? In short:

  • a coach works with you on the development of specific areas
  • a mentor guides you through your career and helps you navigate decisions
  • a sponsor advocate on your behalf.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of senior executives. Almost all have said that critical to their success was a team of coaches, mentors and sponsors. These people have championed them, guided them and challenged them to help them get to where they are today. To accelerate your own career, you need to invest in finding your own support team

Investing in yourself is one of the best returns on investments you will have. I promise, when you do, a world of opportunities will open up.

 2. Invest in others

I recently watched the premier of ‘Equity’, the first female funded, produced and directed movie about women on Wall Street. It was brilliant. Not only was it a game changer – the first of its kind – but it sparked conversations across the world on the roles women play in the workplace.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of the themes is ‘when women don’t back each other’. This got me thinking… how can we invest in each other?

Instead of pulling the ladder up behind us, let’s invest in the next generation. It may be in the form of words of encouragement, mentoring upcoming talent or advocating on behalf of someone else. If you see a woman who should apply to a job or put her hand up for the next project, encourage her and support her growth. Research shows, when women negotiate on behalf of one another we achieve better results. So let’s find opportunities to invest in each other.

This is an awesome opportunity to involve men in the equation. To accelerate gender equality, both men and women need to be involved. It is everyone’s responsibility.

I recently met a male champion of change. He’s a Senior Executive managing an incredibly large and complex team. He’s passionate about finding opportunities for his team members and encourages people to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. We can look for opportunities to invest in each other.

By investing in other women, and especially the next generation of talent, we’re enabling them, empowering them and equipping them to be the best they can be.

 3. Support each other

When we come together, we can do amazing things. As a collective, we can use our voices to be heard, to be an unshakeable force.

No matter what walk of life you’re from or where you’ve been, we can all work together to make change.

There are some amazing initiatives driven around the world, around Australia and around Perth. I encourage you get involved in driving this change. Get connected and see how you can make a difference. Accelerating gender diversity takes you and me.

I’m excited to announce that we are expanding our footprint in 2017. ACCELERATE WOMEN are passionate about accelerating diversity and will be running FREE Lunch and Learns throughout business hubs in Perth.

Our goal is to empower and equip women in the workplace and we would love to hear from you. What areas are you looking at developing to unleash your full potential.  We’d really appreciate you completing this 5 minute survey so we know what’s important to you.

Stay tunned for the next chapter in this three-part series and to hear about other exciting announcements from ACCELERATE WOMEN.

ACCELERATE WOMEN is a career accelerator and business consultancy designed to accelerate women in the workplace. Whether you are looking at accelerating your career or you are looking at harnessing your business potential, we will work with you to unleash you potential. We are passionate about accelerating diversity and believe when we come together, we can do amazing things.