It can be harder to perceive the inequality that women face on a day-to-day basis when living in a developed country like Australia. Unlike countries such as Saudi Arabia where women are not permitted to marry without the permission of a male guardian, gender inequality in Australia is less overt but still very much alive. When looking at women within the workplace, there continues to be significant discrepancies regarding pay and position. Most notably, women earn on average 13.9% less than men each week, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The WGEA also notes that only 17.1% of CEOs and 31.5% of key management personnel are women.
Gender equality is a human right that we are all entitled to. Moreover, gender parity has proven to be beneficial for societies at large. According to the Victorian Government, our country’s GDP would increase by 11% if we were to close the gender pay gap. Companies where women represent at least 30% of leadership positions have similarly been shown to enjoy 15% more profit than their peers. Beyond the workplace, gender equality is viewed as the most effective way of combating violence against women and contributes to a healthier society.
If you are like me and in a position where you don’t determine salaries or promote employees to executive boards, you may be asking yourself what exactly it is you can do to aid the fight for gender equality. Helping to shift traditional mindsets and stereotypes regarding women is an immensely important step towards gender parity, and it’s something that all of us can engage in on a day-to-day basis.
When I made an effort to reflect on my own behaviour, I realised I often fall victim to unconscious bias. Every time I commit a bias act like judging a woman based on her appearance, I inadvertently contribute to gender inequality in our society. Challenging myself has allowed me to recognise learned prejudice and also made me confident to call it out when I see it.
Given this year’s IWD theme recognises the importance of the individual in the fight for gender equality, I reached out to fellow Vodafone employees and asked the following question: “What action can I take to help forge a more gender equal world?” Check out some of their pledges below and have a think on what you yourself can do as a supporter of gender equality.
“I’ll respect and embrace the things that make us different” – Sarah Bray, Care Communications Coordinator.
“I pledge to vote for political leaders that are champions of equality” – Luke Ellery, Copywriter
“I pledge to call out when someone tries to mansplain or take credit for an idea that a woman brought up first” – Anonymous
“I pledge to speak up for women when misogynist comments are made in my presence by friends, colleagues or strangers”- Liam Iles, Copywriter
“I’ll take pride in ALL the women who have gone far in their careers in different fields and stand up against the ones who are prejudiced against them” – Sujatha Devarajan, Digital Content Producer
“I’ll provide initiatives to work inclusively and diversely at my workplace, and I’ll boycott products where advertising stereotypes women” – Joyce Wong, Iteration Manager
3 Minute Read