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What I learned about women in business from Julia Gillard
13 December 2014
Earlier this month I attended an inspiring women’s networking event with a group of my female colleagues and clients. The breakfast, run by Business Chicks, featured Julia Gillard as guest speaker.
With Sandra Sully as interviewer, Julia shared stories of her time in parliament, amongst other things. She was really engaging, funny and humble – and even managed to impress some of our guests who do not agree with her politics.
Afterwards, one of my colleagues mentioned how great it was that Julia focused on her achievements and challenges and how to face them. We were all able to relate personally and it was very motivating. But more than that, it was inspiring just to be in a room with so many professional women, sharing stories of their business successes.
Over breakfast Julia spoke of her famous ‘misogynist speech’ and feminist ideals. One of the main highlights was her statement that women should support other women. It reminded me of how important this is and that I’m lucky to work in an organisation that supports the development of female leaders.
As a leader of the the Women@Page committee, I’m really proud of our progress toward true gender diversity within the company. Founded in 2012, the Women@Page initiative has a simple objective – to improve equal employment opportunities between men and women at all levels of the business. Our aim is to create a supportive working environment, raise career aspirations, develop career growth and retain female talent within PageGroup.
It’s well known that the best performing companies are those that are truly diverse. It has been proven that companies with a more gender-balanced management team achieve higher sales, higher return on invested capital and higher return on equity. It simply makes good business sense to invest in a diverse leadership team.
As part of the Women@Page initiative, we have implemented flexible workplace options including remote access, improved our maternity leave policy and introduced a mentoring program to help develop our female leaders. We are seeing great results from these initiatives.
And we are not alone. Many large ASX listed companies are implementing diversity programs while many SMEs also practice the fundamentals.
It has been proven that companies with a more gender-balanced management team achieve higher sales, higher return on invested capital and higher return on equity.
It is testament to PageGroup’s commitment to gender diversity that we had an extensive list of attendees at the event from both own business and our client base. Our guests included female executives from Australia’s leading FMCG, banking, pharmaceutical and financial services organisations as well as more than twenty of our own senior consultants. They all had excellent things to say about the morning. A selection of feedback included:
- “Inspirational to any female both personally and professionally.”
- “Simply loved it, thank you so much for inviting me.”
- “I personally am not a fan of Julia Gillard’s politics, however I wanted to hear her story as you can’t take away what she has achieved in her career - very impressive.”
- “Impressed PageGroup is promoting these events and promoting the diversity agenda.”
After the breakfast, the PageGroup team and I were lucky enough to meet Julia and thank her for sharing her story. We went back to the office feeling inspired to take the next step in our careers.
Find out more about how PageGroup is developing female leaders through our Women@Page initiative.