As International Women’s Day (IWD) is marked across the globe today, there is resounding recognition that we still have a long way to go before equality between the genders is a reality. Through IWD celebrations, women and men will be sharing their experiences, supporting their peers, and offering solutions and opportunities on how collectively we can ‘break the bias’ and create gender equality in our professional environments and communities.
Here in Australia, the story is no different. From the Religious Discrimination Laws to the Sexual Harassment issues playing out in Parliament to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report released this year showing Australia is still battling the gender pay gap, there is a clear and present problem in our country to genuinely embrace gender diversity and equality, and the bias that continues to underpin these stories. The Australian Council of Professions is calling on Professional Organisations and their member professionals to step forward and lead the way in making change.
Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins’ speeches at the National Press Club on 9 February 2022 highlighted the toxic and debilitating inaction that is plaguing our government when it comes to protecting the rights of women and the vulnerable. Their formidable and fearless addresses could not have been clearer: ‘Act now or face the wrath of the next generation’.
They backed their pledge with the powerful #SafetyRespectEquity message supported by the many other women who have endured bias, discrimination, harassment, discrimination, and violence at the hands of their peers and professional community.
And while ACoP welcomes the milestone achieved last year that all ASX 200 companies have at least one female board member, the celebration of this achievement is diminished by the fact that women still hold only 30% of board positions and just over 43% of ASX 200 companies have not reached even that level of gender participation.
So it’s Time for some Action to #BreaktheBias!
It’s never too late to empower diversity and equality across your professional landscape. As members of an alliance of almost 1 million professionals, we have an immense opportunity – and obligation – to facilitate change in as many ways as possible.
ACoP has shone a spotlight on these issues and facilitated Professional Organisations to be part of change. We recently called for more women on boards, equal pay & closing the gap as well as evidence-based early-learning systems taht foster gender equality.
ACoP will also be holding a Roundtable event in the next couple of months on the issue of ‘Gender Deafness’. So stay tuned as we discuss, debate, and engage in healthy discourse with our member organisations about how to enable change.
We invite professional organisations who are not members of ACoP to join our alliance as we work collectively to uphold the integrity of gender parity and the contribution it makes to Australia’s well-being and prosperity. For more details, ring 1300 664 587 or contact CEO@Professions.org.au.