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!

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

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!

Getting heard … Part 2

Some ideas to try;

– if you are bringing a new idea or key results to a meeting where you are concerned that you won’t be heard take the time in the day or two before the meeting to meet with several key players.  Review your ideas with them and take their input onboard.  When the meeting comes around you will then have some people onside

– Think about how you present your ideas.  Many folks, especially women. want to go over the whole story.  They start with the problem, the history, the dead ends, the challenges and move towards the solution.  So many times, fewer words are better.  Start with what you want – approval, budget, more time, change of direction.  Then give a short why, how, when and $ and then open for questions.  Time is limited and you may find everyone agrees and they don’t want the full background.

– Think about the words you use.  Women are more inclined to start with words and phrases that suggest doubt; perhaps, maybe, another idea, it may not be a good idea, this may have been tried before.  Rather than building inclusion and discussion this encourages others to think maybe the idea has no merit.

– Read this “oldie but goodie” – every women needs to take the key learning from this on board and also any men who feel they are not heard –

Getting Heard…part 1

When communicating with someone remember the split 55% visual, 38% tone and 7% words.  Therefore if you want to get heard in a meeting, the first thing is to look strong and confident.  That means up straight, shoulder straight and head up.  Take eye contact with others in power around the table.  The next part is the tone:  use your business voice, space your words a little and make your key points succinctly.  Leave time for others to absorb and ask questions.  Thirdly, plan the words to use especially as you commence.

Take the best seat….

When you arrive at a meeting early enough to have a choice of seat, think about where you would like to sit!  Get there early and have all the materials you need for the meeting.

1.  Meeting leader at the top of the table – if you are the project leader take the seat that goes with it.

2.  Leader support (PA or other) on the left and right of the leader so that they can have an aside if need be

3.  The other end of the table is a conflict position so avoid that

4.  Pick right of left side half-way down for best eye-contact without conflict

5.  Someone you find difficult?  Ask them to sit beside you.  It will build rapport and also it is very difficult to have conflict with the person beside you

6.  Take your space with your materials, welcome other by standing shaking hands and if you don’t know them give your first and last name and credentials or title.  This gets over people wondering why you are there

7.  Don’t offer to take notes or get coffee, this positions you as a very junior participant.  Often for women this may undermine you confidence and respect if you accept.

8.  When the meeting starts, ensure you are sitting straight and slightly forward with all your materials organised in front of you.  This will make you look ready and confident of your position.  (Don’t allow the inner voice give you ideas about being an imposter).  When you sit straight you look for confident.

A slightly different view:

Are you an imposter?

I would like to share with you that the first day I moved into the Managing Director’s office at Apple, I wondered what I was doing there! Did others think I deserved the role, would I perform at the right level, what did others expect?  This is the “imposter syndrome” at work.  Two years later we won “Employer of the Year”!

So many women say to me that when they are promoted or take on a new role they feel like an imposter.  Why don’t the alpha members of the workforce have this feeling?  I don’t know.

Inside each of us is and “internal critic” and it is important that we tame this beast.  Remember that the person who put you in the role or promoted you had confidence in you and it is in their best interests for you to be successful.  They don’t expect you to “know it all” immediately and if you do then it really wasn’t a promotion. They will be ready to support and help.

Each of us is only able to give of our best and I am sure if you give your best and turn the volume down on the “internal critic” you will not only be good enough but surpass your own expectations.  BE BOLD