Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis tonight took the Panel Pledge to get more female leaders from STEM and business represented in Victoria’s industry panels and conferences.
The pledge was made at an event co-hosted by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), who also launched the inaugural WLIA Media and Panel Pledge Awards.
The awards will recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations who achieve the greatest impact in their implementation of the Panel Pledge, as well as media professionals who achieve gender balance in their stories.
By taking the Panel Pledge, Mr Dalidakis chooses to only participate in panels and consider government funding for conferences and events that have clear 50/50 gender representation in their speakers.
The WLIA initiated the Panel Pledge in Australia in 2013 to address gender imbalances often seen on panels and at conferences. It was immediately taken up by the Male Champions of Change movement, under the leadership of former Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO.
While women make up 46 per cent of Australia’s workforce, it is estimated that they make up less than 15 per cent of panellists in industry events across the country.
The pledge comes just days after the Andrews Labor Government unveiled Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.
Victoria’s first ever gender equality strategy includes a series of landmark reforms to support women and girls – a Gender Equality Act, gender audits across government and public sector, scholarships to encourage young and emerging women leaders and hosting the first all women trade delegation to China.
The Labor Government has been leading the push for gender diversity in Victoria since it first introduced a requirement for equal representation in all public boardrooms. The average proportion of women on government and public boards now sits at 49 per cent, a considerable jump from 39 per cent just six months ago.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis
“With this pledge, I hope that established and emerging women leaders in Victoria will be heard and get the respect and recognition they deserve – not just in the media, but at our conferences and on our panels as well.”
“It’s nearly 2017 and women make up just 20 per cent of Australia’s tech workforce yet represent 50 per cent of the population. To see just 15 per cent women speaking on industry panels is just not good enough.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Fiona Richardson
“I’d love to see expert panels reflect the breadth, insights and experiences of Victorian women. Panels with a heavy majority of male voices send a message that women’s voices are not relevant. It’s time to change that.”
“By stepping up beside women on gender equality, male leaders play an important role in helping us transform community attitudes and ensuring that we see women represented equally at our major conferences and events.”