When the numbers just can’t be stomached

As Australia continues to push back from the ledge of a real recession, there are some very unpalatable numbers that many business executives are choosing to ignore, despite the negative impact on their bottom lines.

This is a horrible one: the global gender pay gap is not predicted to close until 2186.

According to The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016, it is estimated that it will now take 170 years to close the 23% global pay gap between men and women. Worse yet, gender inequality in the economy is now back to where it stood in 2008.

For those male executives reading this blog, you will be long gone by the time this inequity is redressed. But disturbingly, your daughters and granddaughters will have continued to face wage discrimination throughout their lifetime and most likely passed it on to their descendants.

Is this the legacy you want to leave them?

Sure, your global corporation may recruit more women than it did twenty or even ten years ago, and you may feel that you have done as much as you can. But as you look towards the future, does your ‘vision’ for your business career include a gender intelligent handover of power?

Have you chosen a female from within (or without) your organisation to mentor, empower and support along her journey to become one of the few female CEO’s in Australia? And, are you keeping an eye on those power hungry male line managers who, when a smart woman joins the team, looks for anyway they can pull the rug out from under her?

Or, are you taking the less courageous route and still sitting on the sidelines enjoying being part of the predominately male senior management and Board (which in Australia are comprised of only 8.2% women).

Today, I was a guest of The Rotary Club of Sydney’s International Women’s Day lunch.

To its credit this venerable male centric organisation had managed to attract equal numbers of men and women to hear Pallavi Sinha speak on “Wake up to the Power of Women.”

Pallavi Sinha (pictured) is Principal of Lawyers with Solutions and was selected in the prestigious AFR & Westpac 100 Women of Influence winner list. She currently serves on the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity and the White Ribbon Diversity Committee.

She told the audience that she believes education lies at the heart of gender change and that in order to make real change in an equal world, we all need “to be clear and focused on what we want to achieve”.

Tomorrow, on International Women’s Day (IWD) I will get up early and sit with hundreds of women at the Third Annual International Women’s Day Breakfast at NSW Parliament House. This year the IWD theme is ‘Be Bold For Change’. I will be listening attentively to learn how myself and the other women in the room can move forward, while the malaise affecting most men around the issue of gender equality remains.

Like Pallavi Sinha, I know what I will be doing to pull back the gap. I will boldly use my voice to speak about this to men and women in whatever spaces are available to me.

If you do have a plan to make bold change in your world, I would love to hear what steps you are taking in2017. I will add your voice to the chorus and ensure your legacy is acknowledged.

Claire Moffat

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