International Women’s Day is the perfect time take the time to reflect on the impressive things Australian business women are achieving while considering the ways we can encourage organisations to make strides towards gender parity and enable the next generation of women to reach success.
Here is some sound advice from Australia’s leading business women on how we can create #BalanceforBetter.
Building gender-balanced organisations
Gender balance is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities, regardless of gender. Creating gender-balanced organisations isn’t only the right thing to do for the sake of fairness and equality it is also the right thing to do for the bottom line! A balanced workforce has been shown to increase organisational productivity and improve national economic growth. But how can organisations create this balance?
Stella Petrou Concha, who founded and is CEO of Parramatta-based finance management consultancy and recruitment agency, Reo Group (https://www.reogroup.com.au), tells us you shouldn’t KPI gender balance for gender balance’s sake. Organisations need to empower the environment for both men and women to have flexibility so their work and private life co-exist. “When you achieve this, there will be happier women and men both working and present at home. This is how you achieve true balance.”
Michelle Joosse, Managing Director of Business IT support service firm, HotlineIT, https://hotlineit.com) recommends you hire on talent and ignore gender stereotypes, adding “Open your mind and evaluate on experience and skills before even looking at the name.”
A gender-balanced workplace isn’t achieved by simply creating quotas. You need to find the right person for the job!
Mellissa Larkin, Founder and Managing Director of legal and consulting services firm, Peripheral Blue, (http://peripheralblue.com.au) points out “To me it’s not about gender, it’s about the right fit – skills, training, values, personality, culture.
“To ensure that women have the same chance to apply for roles as men,” she goes on to explain, “you need to ensure that the workplace is flexible and genuinely supportive of women’s changing needs over the course of their career – pregnancy, child rearing, aged parents etc. The same flexibility should be offered to men, of course, it’s just that typically it’s women who shoulder the load on those fronts.”
A well balanced organisation should be encouraging women to put their hands up for opportunities and provide mentoring opportunities to staff of all genders.
Emily Wilcox, COO of the rising Aussie fintech company Practifi (www.practifi.com) tells us “If you want to stay relevant and attractive to young talent, it’s a necessity that you should try harder – Traditional mindsets are out of style, mate.“
Creating a Better Future
While structural change is the key to achieving gender balance in the workplace, women as individuals and as a collective can make meaningful change and impact in the workspaces they are in to create better future.
When asked about the vital role of women in a modern business Negar Shabab, Application Security Consultant for PS&C Group (www.pscgroup.com.au) commented ”Women bring a different point of view to the business. They will implement new ways to approach challenges and unique ideas to build the future. However, I believe that a healthy society, regardless of industry or organisation, needs both women and men to build a bright future together.” Following from this, Noushin Shabab, Senior Security Researcher at Kasperksy Lab (www.kaspersky.com.au)– Negar’s twin and colleague – hastens to add how important it is to foster passion and curiosity for your career: never stop learning. “Learn more from others and help others to learn more,” she encourages.
Mellissa Larkin of Peripheral Blue reminds us how important it is for women to “support one another and celebrate one another’s successes”.
Our amazing panel share what #BalanceforBetter means to them:
Mellissa Larkin – Peripheral Blue
It means working collaboratively towards creating opportunities for women to succeed not just in the workplace but in life.
Michelle Joosse – Hotline IT
This means to me that by having more equality of men and women will result in better organisations for all. Balanced opinions across both genders so as to maximise the strengths of both sexes.
Stella Petrou Concha – Reo Group
Balance for better means to me to have an environment that supports humans having a balanced life where work and private life co-exist. What I can see evolving from that is more women succeeding in the work place where they balance both family and career. I also see more men having the time and space to be more present with their home life as corporates provide more flexibility in how individuals achieve. #BalanceforBetter means a better balance of work and life for all.
Negar Shabab – PS&C Group
#BalanceforBetter to me means we NEED balance. It’s not an option, it’s the only way to a better future.
Noushin Shabab –Kasperksy Lab
#BalanceforBetter to me personally, is a natural way of looking and observing life. Balance is key to success and happiness.
Emily Wilcox – Practifi.com
We live in a diverse, ever-developing world that’s filled with a variety of views, perspectives and ideas that are propelling all of us forward into the future. #BalanceforBetter reflects this modern mindset and acknowledges that every single person is involved in this movement and has something to offer that can create “better” outcomes for families, communities, organisations, countries, and the world.
We have come a long way in the 44 years since International Women’s Day was first celebrated but we still have further to go! We look forward to seeing what can be accomplished in 2019 with the efforts of women like those above and the people they inspire!