A few weeks ago when I told my mum that I was attending a conference in Sydney on journalism and storytelling she said, “If work wasn’t an issue, all I would do is attend conferences.” I now know why.
I attended a number of panel discussions and keynotes across the three days, but there was one that has really stayed with me.
Management shake-up was hosted by Marina Go, the GM of Hearst-Bauer Media and Chair of Wests Tigers Rugby League and speakers included, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a mechanical engineer and writer, Michelle Guthrie, ABC Managing Director and Kara Swisher, Executive editor, Recode.
When talking about more women in leadership roles, it was Swisher that said, “One of the issues is there’s almost nobody to look up to.”
It’s unfortunate that this is still a reality.
Abdel-Magied spoke about what it was like as a female Muslim growing up in Australia. She spoke about not ever seeing anyone like herself in leadership roles and how hard it was to picture that future.
“Change is uncomfortable and people aren’t necessarily going to do it if they don’t need to”, said Abdel-Magied. “It requires extra effort, but we’ve got to put that extra effort in.”
Pay was also discussed with Swisher mentioning that it’s ridiculous that we even have to ask to be paid equally to what most men doing the same job are paid.
Abdel-Magied puts it down to how women see themselves.
“Generally, women undersell themselves and men oversell themselves,” she said.
Swisher says we need to have the confidence to ask for more. She says men do it all the time without giving it another thought and it’s something that women need to get better at.
So, when will we reach equality?
Guthrie says, “When there are as many equally incompetent female CEOs as there are male”.
What did I walk away with, and what do I hope to instil in my team both now and in the future?
- Create the change we can’t yet see
- Stand up for yourself
- Have the confidence to ask for more
- Say yes to everything and work out how to do it later
I am lucky at Ogilvy Public Relations, being in an environment that has diverse approaches to hiring, workplace policies and a willingness to embrace different ways of thinking.
Some of the most inspiring, senior leaders of our company are women. This call for a diverse and equal workforce is getting louder and louder. We hope all industries will promote a message of diversity, as we work together to create value for our clients, co-workers, and society.