Lasting change begins at the grassroots level and we can all play a part. CommBank’s Women in Focus creates powerful experiences that enable women to thrive in business.
For International Women’s Day, Janelle Weissman, the Executive Director at UN Women National Committee Australia, discussed some steps that could take us forward.
1. Support organisations supporting women
“We need to ensure women’s organisations - big and small - are adequately resourced. Every contribution helps these vital organisations to deliver essential programs and services, and to exert pressure when needed on lawmakers that feeds into good policy making, policy implementation and accountability.”
2. Work with businesses closing the pay gap
“We live in an age where we can often find at our fingertips the track records of businesses and products. Use this wealth of information to make better choices. Do your homework in your next job - search and prepare questions about their track record on gender equality. Pursue opportunities with companies that match your values; organise and advocate for change within your workforce whenever necessary.
“In Australia, we are fortunate to have the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), which produces comprehensive reports. They also cite employers with the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality Award. Commonwealth Bank is among the winners. Get to know them, and if your employer isn’t on the list, find out why. Boss shop. Vote with your feet.”
3. Advocate for political empowerment of women
“While the percentage of women represented in parliaments around the world has doubled in the past 20 years, today, just 23% of parliamentarians are women. In terms of earnings, globally, women earn 24% less than men.
“In Australia, both of these statistics are more promising, but we’re far from achieving 50/50 representation in parliament and closing the wage gap. Contact your elected representatives, make your views on policy heard and actively investigate opportunities to serve on councils, boards, and to run for elected office. We need courageous leaders, willing to set ambitious targets around women’s representation as decision makers, to inch closer to 50/50 representation.”
4. Volunteer in your community
“There are countless organisations in our own backyard that are doing vital work to create better opportunities for women and girls in Australia and around the world. The riders in UN Women’s Ride for Rights are examples of everyday women and men who have taken up a personal fitness challenge to cycle hundreds of kilometres and raise $3,000 or more in support of UN Women’s work.
“Having cycled in the inaugural Ride for Rights last year, each rider made a big impression on me, given their big hearts and commitment to women and girls in need. And on the ride, they had a chance to witness UN Women’s work in action.”
5. Support developing nations
“The Australian Government’s foreign aid program has gender equality and women’s empowerment at its core, and is often providing direct aid to governments and strengthening the capacity of governments to improve opportunities and safety for women. Encouraging your MP and Senator to advocate for Australia’s continued support of UN Women, other UN agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and grassroots groups is an important step to improving policies and services for women in developing countries around the world.”
Women in Focus is enabling women to thrive in business by creating a community of women across Australian business and social sectors, helping them collaborate and connect to create opportunities, learn and share insights and expertise. Stay in touch to learn about the latest events and get inspiration to help you grow your business.