#100daysforchange How companies are making change for women

What companies are doing in the next 100 days to expedite change for women

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Angela Y Davis, educator and activist.

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the world is changing rapidly.

Hashtags are transforming into robust movements; power is won and lost in a heartbeat; and advocates are connecting in a global ‘siblinghood’.

But questions remain as to whether this will lead to long-term change, for women and marginalised communities, both in the workplace and broader society.

The time is ripe for real, practical, tangible tools to improve policies, procedures and culture.

This is why on July 1 Women and Leadership Australia started the countdown to mark #100daysforchange.

This is not some kind of “You go girl!” rallying cry, which looks good on paper but does little in practice.

Frankly, we’re all sick of that stuff. As Veronica Lake from Women and Leadership Australia writes, “We simply cannot wait another 200 years for parity”, citing figures from the World Economic Forum.

With this in mind, we’ll be rolling out information about pledges being put into practice over the next three months.

Businesses and individuals are actually committing to take action.

Here are a few initiatives to give you food for thought:

Amna Karra-Hassan – a proud champion of #100daysforchange – is the founder and president of Auburn Giants AFL.

“The way I’m committing to make change at a grassroots level, is I’ll be mentoring any girl who writes to me on any social media platform,” Amna says. “I’ll offer any support I can.”

Sharon Pask from Frankston Toyota is introducing gender decoder and blind screening tools during her hiring. Her target is to increase Frankston Toyota’s female cohort to 40 per cent by 2020.

King & Wood Mallesons, the only global law firm based in Asia, has six key initiatives including conducting a gender pay analysis, doing conscious decision making training, paying superannuation on parental leave, and progressing workers through career bands regardless of time taken away for caring responsibilities.

SBS has long supported such values, recently launching an inclusion strategy with a clever video.  While there hasn’t been an official gender pay audit, Director of People & Culture Stig Bell says SBS regularly reviews salary levels to ensure fairness. More than half of the top 100 leaders are women.

REFAP Pty Ltd was set up in 2010 to help Indigenous people gain skilled long-term employment in the Pilbara. Founder and CEO Triscilla Holborow – a Traditional Owner from the Yaburara and Yindjibarndi tribes – says:

“My pledge for #100daysforchange is to give more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women more confidence to have a dream and pursue it. To empower these women that being a female business owner is possible. You’re in control. You call the shots.”

Esyltt Graham from Chiropractic First is organising an event at her local high school to talk to students about gender equality in small business. “As a health professional who’s been self-employed for 30 years, it’s important to speak up about how you can combine family and being a business owner successfully,” she says.

And the Australian Local Government Women’s Association in Tasmania is assisting women to nominate for the October elections, to increase female representation from 31% to 50%

It’s clear that from top to bottom, right across the country, gender inequality is a critical economic and social challenge.

Frankly, high-level policy change through government and big business is not happening fast enough.

The time has come for all of us to step up and do what we can in our communities and workplaces to expedite change.

Join us at #100daysforchange here.

Tracey Spicer is an Ambassador for #100daysforchange

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