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Promoting Pregnant Women To Partner

Recently KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services has promoted 2 women about to go on maternity leave. This is an unusual move within the corporate industry, as children have traditionally been viewed as a barrier to moving up the corporate ladder.

Could promoting women while pregnant be the solution to getting more women on boards and improving overall statistics for women in leadership roles?

Angela Priestly, journalist for the online publication ‘Women’s Agenda’ finds out in her most recent article below:


There’s a major problem facing ambitious women in law and accounting firms.

Many women approach the partner level just as they approach another major milestone in life: having children.

It’s not the only reason, but at least one of the reasons why the number of female partners in professional firms tends to be well below that of the number of male partners — often averaging less than 20%.
 So this week’s news that KPMG has not only promoted a record number of female partners, but also a record number of women who’re working flexibly and/or on or about to take maternity leave, is certainly positive.
KPMG has appointed 51 new partners and executive directors, 19 of them are women. That’s 37%, up from 24% last year.

Two women have been promoted to partner while on, or about to take maternity leave. As the Financial Review reports, 35-year-old Courtney West is expected to give birth to her first child at the end of July, the same month she officially commences as partner. She said she always believed having a child could fit with her partner ambitions with the firm and plans to take six months maternity leave. Another five of the new […]

Intel: the next corporate giant to jump on the diversity bandwagon



Following on from the theme of last weeks blog regarding the underrepresentation of women within the tech world, Intel has been the latest corporate giant to publicly announce incentives to encourage further diversity within their organisation. This week Intel announced that it will be investing $300 million to help improve the pipeline for women and minorities, actively support the hiring and retention of diverse candidates and fund programs that support the positive representation of women and minorities in technology and gaming industries.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has vowed that by 2020 the company should have a “full representation” of women and minorities-meaning Intel will be more representative of the available talent in America, including closing the gap at the leadership level.

To kick start this initiative and ensure it is followed through to all the industry associations, Intel are planning to partner with organisations within the industry including the International Game Developers Association, The E-Sports League and The National Centre for Women in Technology. Furthermore, the company will also collaborate with minority-serving elementary schools and engineering programs at colleges so as to promote careers in technology as a legitimate career path for young women and other minority groups.

While on the surface this investment appears to be another step in the right direction for the tech industry, there are some skeptics. Alyssa Oursler,a journalist specialising in technology, gender issues and entrepreneurship argued that there is good reason to be weary of this kind of “progress”.

“As an entrepreneur, investor and feminist one might think I would applaud any fund or initiative that explicitly focuses on investing in women leadership however there are certain reasons to be skeptical about these types of initiatives….as it stands right now, when women […]

The Tech Industry: Finally Putting Women On Centre Stage



Because VM Learning specialise in development programs for women while also owning the software company aXcelerate, we take the concept of a gender-balanced software industry quite seriously. And it seems that some of the big tech players within Silicon Valley are finally taking the concept seriously too.

At the most recent  Worldwide Developers Conference sponsored by Apple, two women presented to the crowd of software developers: vice President of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey, discussed the progress in mobile payments while Susan Prescott gave the pitch for Apple’s forthcoming News app. It marks the first time female executives have made an on-stage appearance during an Apple Keynote presentation since 2010, when Zynga’s Jen Herman gave a demonstration of the game Farmville.

Meanwhile, at Google’s I/0 developers conference, arguably the biggest news of the day (Google Now on Tap) was presented by Aparna Chennapragada, the company’s director of product management. Chaennapragada was one of three women who spoke during the keynote presentation. Similarly, at the Developer conference for Microsoft in late April, three women took to the stage to walk developers through technical subjects like SQL databases and Saas applications. This is a stark difference to the Microsoft conference the previous year, where the only female voice on stage came from ‘Cortana’ who sounded like a lady but was really a piece of artificial intelligence technology.

It appears that the heavy hitters within the software industry are trying to shake the label placed upon them  by the media during the last few years as ‘sexist’ and  ‘male dominated’. Sadly they still have a long way to go before achieving gender equality. According to each company’s website, about 30% of Apple and Google’s employees are made up of women while […]

Joan Kirner: Advocate for Women in Leadership




Today Australian politicians remember Joan Kirner, Victoria’s first female premier and Australia’s second, who made a significant influence to the women of  Australian politics for the last 25 years.  The state funeral for Mrs Kirner, who passed away earlier this week is being held today at the Williamstown hall and many high profile female leaders are expected to be in attendance to remember and celebrate Joan’s contributions to Australian politics.

Mrs Kirner was first elected to parliament in 1982 as a member for Melbourne West and then in the legislative Assembly seat of Williamstown in 1988. She then became the  the state’s first female premier in 1990 after John Cain. She held office for two years and in this time education, health and the advancement of women became her primary political focus.

However it was once she retired that she truly cemented her credibility as a female advocate, through establishing EMILY’s List Australia- an organisation independent of the ALP that supports the election of progressive women.

EMILY’s List originally started in the USA and functioned outside the Democratic Party to assist pro-choice Democratic women to be elected to Congress, the Senate and Governorships around the country. The organisation has helped to promote a record number of women serving in the United States and is currently campaigning to see America elect its first woman President in 2016.

Mrs Kirner and a number of labour politicians saw the good work EMILY’s List was doing in America and decided to adapt the U.S model to Australia  to assist progressive Labor women in their campaigns. Furthermore this organisation was chosen to exist outside the ALP in order  to ensure the women were in control  of their own finances. Initially  EMILY’s List Australia […]