One important issue that I am truly passionate about is gender equality.
Twenty years ago, women were fighting for equality. I have no doubt that they had a vision of their children experiencing true gender equality in their lifetime.
To quote Sue Vardon, the inaugural winner of the Telstra awards -“Women still carry the double responsibility of work and home management. If we make up 50 per cent of the workforce, why are we not 50 per cent at every level?”
The challenge we face today, and the question we all need to ask ourselves is how far have we come – and how far do we still have to go?
Just like the women, who won these awards 20 years ago, I too have a vision. That vision is that my kids will experience true gender equality in their lifetime.
Recently, I have raised discussions on this issue in various forums. I have also shared my thoughts and achievements and hopefully that has inspired other women and men to create a ripple of change.
We all know, the issue of gender equality is one that both men and women need to work on together.
Because if we are not equal then what are we?
Just for a moment I want you all to think about and
imagine a world where 50% of the world’s leaders are women.
Imagine a world where 70% of the world’s poor were not women
Imagine a world where 80% of refugees were not women and girls.
Imagine a world where places that treated women as second class marginal human beings didn’t exist.
A world where innocent, visionary, and brave 14 year old girls didn’t get shot in the head simply because they wanted an education.
Imagine a world where gender violence didn’t account for more deaths than cancer, malaria and traffic accidents put together.
You see gender equality is not just about the workplace or what we get paid. It’s about Men and Women of all ages, creeds, ethnicity and sexual orientation being truly and unashamedly being treated as equals.
Last year, I stood up here and said that we are in a good place and the future looks bright, I still believe that however we have to get better at asking for what we want, so in the last 12 months I have got much better at asking for not just what I want but what we should all have.
Revolutions start as a ripple.
If each of us, men and women, chose to start a ripple, no matter how small, we could trigger thought revolution and positive change.
It wouldn’t take us another lifetime to achieve it.
My question to all of us is “If you don’t start a ripple…… then who will?
If we don’t do it now….. then when will we?
I can’t change the whole world, but I can change the world I have influence in.
I will continue to invite men into the conversations we have around gender equality
I will continue to invite men to take action with us
I will be disruptive on this issue, with a strong voice
I know that together we can shape an equal world to leave behind for our children.