When we talked about International Women’s Day last month, we were excited to be joining a number of Sydney’s celebrations. It was great to see the team buzzing with enthusiasm as they came back from their respective events with renewed vigour on raising the Parity issue in their spheres of influence, whatever the scale.
Our pick of these functions last month were both inspiring and empowering.
Renee Clarke attended the Business Chick’s breakfast led by Australian of the Year, David Morrison, who spoke about pay equity and his work in increasing the number of senior woman in leadership within the Australian Army. The former Chief of Army has been recognised for his robust stance on the prevalent mistreatment of women in the forces – and outside of them has said gender equality is on top of his list of topics to cover and has called domestic violence “the greatest social challenge we face”.
Renee came back brimming with respect for David and the journey he has undertaken “he was candid about the huge personal transformation he has undergone and his story goes to show that when institutional stalwarts join the fight for equality, immense change takes place”.
“It was interesting to hear him speak about how important it is to keep talking about this issue (especially to men of his age and experience) to get them onboard this journey of change. Let’s face it, any social change away from the old vanguard is not going to be easy, but inspirational characters like David remind us to have faith and keep going.”
The essence of David’s message was captured in the following quote by Machiavelli which gave us all food for thought. “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions”.
Tim Henry took a handful of clients to Westpac’s Ruby Connection International Women’s Day lunch at Barangaroo Reserve along with some 1400 other guests. In an amazing venue, they heard from The Hon Julie Bishop, MP, who delivered a keynote speech outlining some of the elements of her role as Australia’s first female Foreign Affairs Minister, along with her achievements. Her message to the audience was “Dream Big. Aim High”.
Julie was then joined on a panel hosted by Westpac’s CEO Brian Hartzer and joined by Ann Sherry (Executive Chairman of Carnival Australia) and Michelle Payne (Melbourne Cup winning-jockey), The discussion points were focused on why we need to achieve equality in all aspects of life – including business, sport and government – and the three women provided interesting advice and commentary. For Tim, a poignant comment came from Ann Sherry when the panel were asked why change in these areas seems to take so long, given the subject is so prevalent. Ann commented that “the drag of the past” and history slowed down even the most ambitious Leaders and that the focus has to be to continually challenge the status quo.
We couldn’t agree more!