Sydney Dinner & Discussion Wrap

SEATT last week hosed our inaugural NSW event with great success. A large group of change makers came together for this ‘Dinner and Discussion’ event.

The conversation focused in on challenging the notion that "men earn and women care" to close the gender pay and leadership gap. While Australia is global leaders and number 1 in the World with regards to gender equality in health and education, when it comes to equal pay and leadership, we fall way behind.

Statistics shared on the night from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap study, showed that Australia has slipped further behind to 39th in the World from 35th in 2017. With the current gender pay gap sitting at 21.3% for full-time employees, and rates of women in management starting at 40% and slipping to less than 17% for heads of business, SEATT needs to act to see the rate of change speed up.

A panned discussion with Alice Almeida, Brad Smith, Jamie Hampson, Scott Laird and Ilana Goldberg followed the presentation that homed in on discussing the cultural challenge in Australia which has led to 95% of all primary caring being done by females. The panel particularly acknowledged the fact is that the rigid stereotypes of ‘men earn and women care’ are at play, and everyone is losing out because of this.

The panel was the catalyst for discussion around the acknowledgment that women are being discriminated against at entry-level management based on a perception that the business will be impacted by maternity leave, and this in turn has impacted on their rates of pay and career trajectories into senior leadership positions.

Discussion then followed around a number of actions that people can take including the need to support companies to train managers with regards to supporting parental leave, providing and encouraging flexibility for all (regardless of it just being about parenting), continuing to celebrate organisations who have adopted these policies and advocate for more. Fundamentally the discussion acknowledge that it will take real leadership to shift the public policy to drive this change forward.

The event closed with people feeling optimistic about the future, clear on the actions that each could take with their organizations knowing that the micro changes will eventually lead to macro impact.