International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
This IWD we had a chat with some of our remarkable leaders to see what IWD means to them and how they’re dedicated to breaking the bias.
Samantha Elkins – General Manager, People & Culture
International Women’s Day is important to me so we can celebrate all the amazing women who have come before us, acknowledge their achievements, and continue to raise awareness all over the world. Not every country is as advanced as Australia is in recognising that women are equal.
This year we can embrace the theme, “Break the Bias”, by calling out bias when we see it; calling out comments, calling out actions, and calling out stereotypes. For example, the opinion that women’s work is in the home and men’s work is outside the home. I remember being shocked as a teenager that some families operated that way and that some homes and countries still believe that women need to serve their male family members. That needs to change. No woman should be fearful of the men in her home or feel like she is a servant to the male members of her family.
“Break the Bias” means that women are strong. We should not be seen as fragile. At home there is no women’s work, there is just work. And that all professions are open to all, regardless of gender. That is something that we are committed to at MTC. I love that women make up 71% of our workforce! We have many inspiring female team members, leaders, and an equal seat at the leadership table.
At MTC we ensure that there is equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. And there is equal opportunity to succeed for everyone. With our customers, we educate both women and men about the equal contribution of all people. We celebrate the achievements of all.
Jennifer Schultz – Acting Program Manager, Opportunity Hub
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s important to remember that as much as it’s a day for celebration, it is also a day of community, where we can come together as advocates.
In my role, I work face-to-face with young girls up to the age of nineteen, and I strive to support them to build a positive sense of self-worth, understand their ability to determine their own choices, and encourage them to become strong role models for the next generation of girls.
This year’s theme, “Break the Bias”, means breaking stereotypes and discrimination around gender and moving closer to a world where difference is valued and celebrated. The way we can achieve this is by continuing to have conversations around equality and improving education to combat the assumption that gender is just a woman’s issue. Men also need to understand the challenges women face and have always faced in the workplace, home, and society. It’s important for everyone, men included, to reflect on gender bias and to remember gender equality isn’t just about improving the lives of women, it’s about dismantling ALL damaging gender stereotypes and roles.
Jason Paton – Regional Manager Work Support Services
International Women’s Day is important for us so we can recognise how far we’ve come towards gender equality, but also at how far we have left to go, and how we can get there. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field.
As a leader, I believe you need to encourage confidence and empower women by allowing them to embrace their position and giving them the means to grow. As a man, I think we have an important role to play in helping our female colleagues by offering them the support and encouragement that will help them succeed. Together we can build each other up.
The work that we do as a team is something that I love seeing embraced at MTC. Teamwork is the way of the future.
Regardless of gender, both men and women should be capable of success. If you enjoy your job and enjoy working with your colleagues, anyone can be successful.
Vanessa Thorp – Marketing Manager
International Women’s Day is a day for us to take the time to stop and reflect on our own assumptions and biases we have innately learnt throughout our lives and take the time and effort to try and eradicate toxic prejudices from our day-to-day lives.
To achieve this, we all need to come to the table and join the conversation while acknowledging that everyone’s journey to equality will be different. We need to point out biases where we see them, call out our friends and family, do our bit as individuals to stamp out injustices, no matter how small, in the moment and to educate those around us as to why these biases are harmful.
For example, where men are called confident women in the same breath can be called bossy, or where men are passionate women can be labelled emotional. I think that for us to break the bias and find equality we can’t have different labels for the same thing depending on your gender.
As a leader and a strong, confident woman, I encourage my team to always put forward their ideas and not be scared to use their voice. I think as female leaders we have a duty to not only lead by example but pave a path for the women we lead to have the same opportunities and gain the same experience as their male counterparts.
Men do have a powerful part to play in ensuring that equality becomes a reality, but a male ally doesn’t just listen, he also makes space at the table. He doesn’t speak for us but stands with us. He includes women in decisions that affect them and doesn’t just consult with women. He leads his male friends and counterparts by example.
I find that MTC has really embraced that way of thinking. We already have a strong female voice in our organisation, and that voice is represented in our Executive Leadership Team, which is made up of 50% women. This is inspiring to me. It gives me the confidence that I can also reach that level in an organisation. Other companies I have worked for have had all-male executives, so it is refreshing to have such strong and committed female leaders at all levels of leadership.