This month Sydney and Melbourne will play host to the Women World Changers summit. The day-long event curated by Karen Beattie was motivated out of a desire to create a platform for honest, solution-oriented dialogue about the future of Australia’s economy, business and workforce.
Beattie told Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB) the summit will provide today’s leaders with proven insights, real-world solutions and strategies to lead and manage Australia’s workforce of the future and drive real business growth.
In a time when diversity, innovation and thought leadership are hot topics, the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s most amazing female minds should not go unnoticed. The event is a who’s who of global women’s leadership. Amongst the speakers at the event is Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama as leading keynote speaker and Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007 – 2015), Elizabeth Broderick.
Women World Changers is one of Australasia’s largest and only gender balanced one-day leadership summit of its kind.
[image] Karen Beattie
“The summit is designed to drive critical dialogue on the impact and economics of women, diversity and culture on business growth,” Beattie says. She expects the summit will provide insights into the most critical leadership requirements needed to harness the full potential of Australia’s 21st century workforce.
Currently, there is a lot of talk about shaping workforces to be more diverse and flexible – and Beattie believes we are seeing a subtle but certain shift from tokenistic initiatives to more substantive moves for change.
“But the pace of change needs to be ramped up or Australia risks losing its competitive edge. Australia slipped ten places in the Global Gender Gap Report (October 2016) to number 46, this is partly due to the gender gap in income. By contrast our neighbour in New Zealand sits at number nine.
Certainly, there is no denying gender bias and gender inequality is still a big issue for women in big business and politics and according to Beattie statistics still paint a fairly bleak picture.
“Numerous boards still have minimal or no female representation and at a senior leadership level the situation is marginally better.
“A key aspect to facing this challenge is to achieve collective consciousness that equity is an economic imperative. Gender inequality is the biggest barrier to prosperity but also one we can address. When societies value girls and women equally; when they invest in improving their health, education, and skills training; when they give women greater opportunities to participate in the economy—the benefits extend far beyond individual girls and women, to their communities, to societies and economies at large. It’s been incredibly encouraging to note the number of men who are also stepping up for this change and it makes sense – when women gain, men gain too,” Beattie says.
With millennials soon to make up the largest proportion of the workforce, Beattie believes any businesses that can harness the talents of these digital natives have a pathway to success.
“Much has been said about millennials driving some of the biggest workforce disruptions we have seen and this can only be a good thing. Millennials want purpose-driven careers, close proximity to impact and access to growth and opportunities – and as the generation of instant gratification, they want it now,” Beattie explains. “This is a good thing because it speeds up the pace of change so if you want to be an employer of choice then these are the things you need to adopt and look at the culture you want to foster.”
She hopes participants will walk away from the conference embracing a fresh way of thinking and equipped with tools and options to address challenges.
“We don’t expect to provide all the answers, but if, in this one day we can shift the dial slightly and provide proactive solutions to take action then it will be a day well spent.”