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Workplace Gender Equality for both men AND Women



It cannot be denied that gender equality- especially within the workforce, has been a hot button topic this year.  There have been endless reports released over the last eight months relating to the contentious issue; ranging from the pay gap between men and women, the statistics involving the number of women in leadership roles and whether this statistic is growing in comparison to leadership figures a decade ago.

The latest report to be released is one by the Federal Government called the Workplace Gender and Equality Strategy report. This report found that although the majority of Australians value gender equality within the workplace, many are unsure how to achieve this and what a gender balanced workforce actually looks like.

While 50% of organisations have a standalone gender equality policy and 45% of organisations have policies on flexible work and family/caring responsibilities, these strategies are lacking in practical application. Many employers are left wondering how to apply the theory into practice.

The Minister assisting the Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash commented on these findings last week saying “strong implementation strategies are essential, as they provide organisations with steps to reach their equality goals”

Furthermore, she added that promoting workplace gender equality has clear economic benefits, allowing organisations to attract and retain high performing staff.

Another interesting finding from the report was that without specific implementation strategies in place, gender equality is in danger of becoming a “women’s issue”.

According to the government’s findings, some organisations see the solution to gender equality as simply creating a positive environment for women. However this is an overly simplistic approach that can marginalise male employees and employers.

Focusing on creating an environment for women gives the incorrect notion that gender equality revolves around women which […]

Why Coding Like A Girl is All the Rage





There has been a lot of publicity recently, about the lack of women in the IT and computer technology industry. Indeed VM Learning (having an invested interest in the subject) have written numerous blogs on the progress some of the biggest players in the tech industry have had in regards to achieving a gender balanced workforce. But while Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Google are gradually investing in more female talent and appointing more women to management roles, the female tech leaders of Australia are generating their own progress.

The networking event and blog  ‘Code Like a Girl’ was held last Thursday and was designed to provide advice, support and knowledge to women interested in or starting out within the IT Industry. The event featured a panel of some of Melbourne’s trailblazing women in the tech & games industry including the founder of the networking event, Ally Watson.

Watson founded ‘Code Like a Girl’ after becoming sick of being a minority in her won industry.

“ From my experience  every sort of technical director I’ve had has been male…this can make you feel like you don’t belong. It can be quite difficult to imagine yourself in a technical directors shoes when all you’ve had is male technical leaders.

So that’s what this initiative is for, we want to highlight local talent and get these, showcase these women who are doing great things in leadership roles, so that women have mentors to look up to.” she said.

Panel Member and founding and director of Deepend, a Melbourne-based digital communications agency, Kat Blackham agreed with this sentiment.

“I’ve just been at an industry conference over in the USA and there was 150 there and there was about seven females, six or seven females…this makes […]

Effective Communication




By the time we become adults the majority of us would consider ourselves to be good communicators. After all, we’ve been communicating with each other since we first learnt to talk; that’s at least 18 years of solid talking.

However effective communication especially within a workplace setting, can be an incredibly difficult skill to master. It is never as simple as just saying the right words to someone, but also the tone and body language when saying those words. In fact only 7% of communication is based on what is said, while the rest is communicated through non-verbals.  Tone, body language and content combine to create different communication styles ranging from submissive to aggressive. We can jump between communication styles depending on the situation, however many psychologists have argued the ideal communication style especially within the workplace, is assertiveness. This is because an assertive person can effectively influence, listen and negotiate which allows others to choose to co-operate willingly.

I’m sure many have heard of this magical word during work seminars or training sessions, but what does being ‘assertive’ actually mean and how is it different to being aggressive or submissive? Last Friday the VM Learning office were lucky enough to find out when our managing director Julie Verner Mackay held an effective communication training session for all staff. Julie has been facilitating professional development programs for the last 26 years and was able to find some time in-between managing VM Learning and our software product aXcelerate, to demonstrate assertiveness and why it is so important for effective communication both in and outside of the workplace. This training session was the first of many for our VM Learning staff, as we make a concentrated effort on […]

ANZ to increase super contributions to their female staff




The banking giant ANZ, are the first of Australia’s banking corporations to announce they will be increasing super contributions for some female staff, in a bid to combat the gender financial gap. Both the superannuation industry and women’s advocacy groups are applauding ANZ’s move to provide superannuation contributions of $500 a year for female staff with less than $50,0000 in their super funds, in an attempt to minimise the gap in retirement savings between men and women.

Super contributions on parental leave will also be paid by the bank for up to 24 months.

This announcement comes hot on the heels of a recent report commissioned by ANZ  which revealed that women retired with, on average half the amount of super of men. Furthermore the report claimed that women were 15 per cent more likely to experience poverty in retirement and across a lifetime, where full-time working women earned $700,000 less than men.

This increase to women’s super could have significant benefits not only for future women joining the workforce but also overall quality of life , as access to a greater amount of retirement savings would have a positive effect not only on the individual woman but her extended family.

The bank’s chief executive of global wealth, Joyce Phillips believes that while these measures won’t completely solve the problem, they are a step in the right direction.

“ Over time, we believe these new measures will help improve the financial security of women at ANZ by directly targeting the areas of advice, superannuation and financial education” he was quoted saying in the Australian Financial Review last week.

Many prominent political figures are applauding the ANZ’s actions, with Green’s industrial relations spokesman Adam Bandt requesting a Senate inquiry into women’s superannuation savings […]