VIC Seminar - Gender Diversity is good for Business
17 October 2017
Written by Nicola Belcher, Yarra Valley Water
The Victorian Branch of the Australian Water Association along with GHD and DELWP hosted a sell-out gender diversity event on Tuesday, 17 October, attended by a wide range of water industry professionals from Victoria and interstate.
Lindsey Brown, President of the Association's VIC Branch and CEO of Foundry, presented a range of statistics demonstrating why having diversity, and in particular gender diversity is good for business, including some recent findings from VicWater.
Bridget Wetherall from Central Highlands Water demonstrated how she has enhanced diversity in her workplaces - most recently South East Water and Central Highlands Water - through the themes of connecting, supporting and inspiring both females and males. Dean McIntyre from GHD spoke about the GHD goal for workplace inclusion and how embracing gender diversity is a key focus in this.
The panel, which also included Lucia Cade and Luke O'Mara, then addressed questions from the floor and provided greater insight into their views and ideas for improving gender diversity in our industry.
I was particularly buoyed by the discussion around not accepting a 'lack of supply' as an excuse for not having parity for women in job selection processes, and the idea of 'opting out' of internal promotions, so that a merit-based selection process includes all staff with the required skills and experience, rather than relying on the confidence of those people to see their own potential, which sometimes deters women from applying.
The live-polling at the event was not only an easy and fun way for the audience to participate, but also showed that the Australian Water Association through their Channeling Change Program can continue to assist gender diversity in the industry by highlighting and promoting female leaders.
My biggest takeaway was that we should avoid being seen as "pale, male and stale" and embrace diversity for more inclusive, innovative and successful workplaces.
Below are some of the results from the live-polling and photos from the evening. For those of you who couldn’t make it or want a recap, we’ve published a range of videos recorded live at the event.