BCEC and WGEA launch Gender Equity Insights 2021: Making it a Priority report

ContactsAlan Duncan, Director
Rebecca Cassells, Deputy Director
Joanna Holcombe, Industry Engagement Coordinator
Published29 March 2021

Gender Equity Insights 2021: Making it a Priority was launched at a breakfast event at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in collaboration with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on Friday 26 March.

Hosted by Tracy Vo from 9News, the event was attended by future economists and leaders from three Perth High Schools: Methodist Ladies’ College, Kent Street Senior High School and Belmont City College.

Sandra Harben, Whadjuk Nyungar Elder, delivered a moving Welcome to Country.

Rebecca Mitchell, Chief Information Officer at Bankwest, spoke of her experience as Bankwest’s first female Chief Information Officer.

“The significance of this is not lost on me. It’s important for women and girls to see senior female leaders and realise that they have just as much potential as anyone else.”

Rebecca Mitchell, Bankwest, standing at a lectern with a BCEC pull up banner behind her
Rebecca Mitchell, Chief Information Officer, Bankwest

Hon. Simone McGurk MLA said that the community needs to see leadership taking action on gender equality.

“It’s vital that we not only address the specifics in each industry to address gender inequality, but that the whole community, including our young people, see leadership about this at government, at corporate, at community levels.”

Group photo from Gender Equity Insights 2021 report launch
L-R: Tracy Vo, Sandra Harben, Prof Chris Moran, Libby Lyons, Rebecca Mitchell, Hon Simone McGurk MLA, Graham Kerr, Prof Alan Duncan, A/Prof Rebecca Cassells

Launching the report, Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells, BCEC Deputy Director and report co-author, noted that the gender pay gap still existed, but was not insurmountable.

“A quarter of a century to close the gender pay gap for full time workers is a long time, but we can get there faster if we start paying closer attention to how women and men are paid.

“One of the most effective ways to narrow the gender pay gap is by undertaking a comprehensive pay audit and this needs to happen every single year.”

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Alan Duncan, BCEC Director and report co-author, said that there were multiple benefits to having more women on Boards.

“Increasing the share of women on Boards doesn’t just lead to better outcomes for gender equality, it also leads to better behavioural and business outcomes, too.

“Companies with more women on boards are less likely to be involved in fraud and more likely to be socially responsible.”

Libby Lyons talking on stage at a lectern with a BCEC pull up banner behind her
Libby Lyons, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Addressing the audience, Libby Lyons, WGEA Director, said that organisations failing to implement gender equality policies were failing their responsibilities.

“If you are a businessperson, if you are accountable for the business that you are running and keeping it profitable and growing it, if you’re on a Board or you’re on an executive team and you are ignoring the data, you are ignoring the hard evidence, then you are not in my mind, meeting your fiduciary duty.”

Participating in the panel, Graham Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of South32, spoke of the importance and implementation of targets at South32.

“Quotas and targets drive outcomes… We’ve had in place targets around the Board, my leadership team, our senior leadership team, our operational team and our broader workforce from day one.”

Watch the BCEC|WGEA Gender Equity Insights 2021 report launch