Gender Equality starts with the CEO!

The CEO is the most important person in an organisation when building gender equality. It is near impossible to move the organisation to gender equality and an inclusive culture if the CEO does not passionately want their organisation to change.

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Here are some articles to support the case for gender equality

Be aware of why gender equality benefits men as well

So what should a CEO do to show they support gender equality?

  1. Develop a clear, succinct and personal statement about why gender equality is important to them personally
  2. Use that statement on the website, in the annual report and on all forms of communication so that it sticks
  3. Measure and review the metrics of your organisation including hiring, promoting and remuneration of women
  4. Build gender equality goals into the REM of the senior leaders team to ensure they know you are serious.
  5. Review your WGEA and annual reports to ensure you know the situation in your organisation
  6. Understand “unconscious bias” and how this plays into assumptions made about women (and men) in the work place.
  7. Understand how our community has changed with more pressure on families to have two salaries and more involvement by men with their families.
  8. Build sponsoring and mentoring programs to facilitate talented men and women into leadership roles.
  9. Build realistic and achievable gender equality targets for your organisation and ensure they are communicated and metrics reviewed regularly.
  10. Understand this is a challenging cultural issue that will require ongoing and long-term focus.

Show that you are serious about gender equality outside your organisation

  1. Become a “Champion of Change” in your state or industry sector so that you have the opportunity to meet with other CEO’s supporting Gender Equality
  2. Become an Equal Pay Ambassador with and commit to ensuring gender pay equality in your organisation
  3. Sign up to HEforSHE (
  4. Offer your time to share what is working for you to achieve gender equality in your organisation.

Remember gender equality is not women’s business it is everyone’s business and research shows it makes good business!

CEO’s need to deliver on equal pay!

Today is equal pay day!

Today is “equal pay” day and in Australia, as in most countries, women experience a pay gap, which will amount to about $1,000,000 over their full life. In Australia this gap has hovered at just below 20% for several decades, with some industry segments measured with a gap of over 30%

Most of the articles written encourage women to seek the remuneration they deserve and definitely women need to be more confident in their discussions about money. Waiting and hoping will not change the situation.

However, there is also research that shows although men are expected to seek higher wages, and respected for doing so, when women do, they are seen to be aggressive. So women have the difficult challenge of asking for pay increases but risking being seen as aggressive.

WGEA has a powerful initiative encouraging CEO’s to sign up as “pay equality champions”. It is obvious however, that CEO’s already know the problem but have been slow in addressing the problem or feel that it is sufficient to gradually address the problem over a number of years. This assumes they will be there for the time required and the initiative does not get dropped over time. Quite seriously that is just unfair.

One organisation, simply made the powerful decision that they would “fix the problem” and with one move equalised men and women’s remuneration. To me, that is leadership.

It would be powerful to see organisations share their successful initiatives as it is obvious that the gap today demonstrates that unequal pay in not high on the organisational priorities. Unfortunately “name and shame” is probably needed to force the change.


Only men considered….

In March, Abbott and Shorten spoke about the need for change (

On January 1st, 2015 we were 44th in the world list in terms of the percentage of women in politics

Recently both Abbott and Shorten spoke of the need to get more women in politics.  However, when the seat of Canning became available both Labor and the Liberals put in a man as their candidate.  The Liberals imported their candidate from the east coast and likely he has little in common with the folks in Canning.  At least Labor found a local.  However, the selection of a person of merit seems to still include only the limited pool of caucasian males.  Whilst this is the underlying assumption of the groups selecting candidates it appears that the verbal rhetoric of gender equality will continue as just that.

Targets are needed to ensure change!

Women at Work…10 points

Some ideas from our experiences at Xplore for Success with over 11,000 women

  1.  Demonstrate confidence – stand or sit tall, make eye contact, firm hand-shake
  2. Take calculated risks – Show that you are prepared to take responsibility
  3. Speak up – don’t wait for the tap on the shoulder
  4. Dress for the next promotion – look professional
  5. Reduce the use of “sorry” – unless you personally did something wrong
  6. Keep your manager informed of your successes – be able to articulate a success concisely
  7. Take time to be known in your organisation – ensure others know how you add value
  8. Be clear about your career goals – so that you can action them
  9. Invest in your personal development at least once a year – ask for organisational support
  10. Ensure you are paid what you are worth – salary and bonuses

Check out the assumptions that may be made about you at work

Men need to sign up to gender equality!

I know we need to change the thinking of senior men about how they assess merit and talent especially when it comes to women.   When these leaders want a speaker their first choices are great sports stars or adventurers – normally men. They want to feel inspired to climb higher mountains or take more risks. Whilst such speakers are inspirational they will not help an organisation move to greater gender equality.

What Australian leaders need to know is how to make gender equality happen. They need to look in the mirror see their natural biases and more importantly identify how they can be a leader that sees beyond their assumptions. How can they build and lead a diverse work force to maximise their success.

I am confident that through my experience as Managing Director at Apple in Australia, winning Employer of the Year (with an engagement of over 90%) and building Xplore for Success that I can bring them pragmatic ways to change their workplace and move positively towards gender equality.  Xplore has worked with over 11,000 women over the last 13 years from many large organisations.

We know what works and we can work with senior leaders to ensure their organisation achieves their gender equality goals.

WOMEN – Work free one day a week!

Doesn’t seem fair does it but that is what happens to businesswomen in Australia.  Be ready to have a pay discussion and be clear about your goals.


  1. The pay gap in Australia is 18.8% on average
  2. There is a pay gap between men and women of over 1% the first year in the workplace
  3. Check out the list of biggest gaps at
  4. The gap is widening or
  5. The gap fuels further inequality

What it means for you if you are underpaid:

  1.  You will be assumed to have fewer skills than the man being paid more
  2. Therefore you will be less likely to be promoted
  3. Your team will be limited by your salary
  4. Your lack of pay equality may be worth over $1,000,000 over a life time

How to change it

  1. Know what you are worth in the market
  2. Keep up with search consultants who can keep you in the know
  3. Don’t accept the first pay offer – seek more because men normally do
  4. If you take on extra responsibilities seek more remuneration
  5. Ask your manager are you paid equally with your peers
  6. Ask your organisation their position on pay equality
  7. Seek to be low on a higher pay band – easier to get increases from low down
  8. Keep other abreast on your “fabulous” outcomes
  9. Be prepared to talk remuneration several times a year – because men do!
  10. Ensure your manager knows that your remuneration is important to you!

Check out this HBR article

Don’t work one day a week free for the rest of your life – it is way too costly!

Why do we vote?

I thought we voted to that our members could represent the people.  I thought that was what democracy was all about.  How naive I was.

Our politicians are pushing their own views and beliefs.  Of course Tony Abbott as a Catholic has trouble with marriage equality but his tricky maneuvers are disgusting.  Where are the spines of the other Liberal members – pull him down, replace him, get serious about Australia’s needs rather than their own.  Over 70% of Australians want this change and I hope he pays dearly for integrating church and state and representing his views not those of his family.

His climate change target, with PR so carefully crafted will still leave Australia with the highest per capita emissions in 2030.  This is another area where his personal views are leading the actions.  The majority of Australians want real change and want to be seen as a world leader.

Why would anyone support Adani to mine.  Just look at their inabilities in environmental control in their own countries as well as the corruption scandals surrounding their leaders.  Has Abbott promised something to them?  It is so obvious this is a major risk.  How many banks have pulled back.  Read the signs and just say no.

Add to that our wonderful farmland in the Liverpool Plains.  Why would we risk our food supply with another fraught mining adventure with a Chinese company.  What responsibility would they feel if they pollute our country – they already pollute their own.  And the most recent idea of a Korean company operating in the Southern Highlands feels like groundhog day.

It is time our politicians listened openly to the people.  I feel sure that in the future this will be seen as the government that took Australia backwards.