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It appears that ‘feminism’ is having resurgence in the media as of late.  You can’t log into Facebook or flip through a magazine without reading an article or comment debating the merits and relevance of feminism. Key female opinion leaders such as Hilary Clinton and Ita Buttrose are repeatedly being asked to weigh in on these debates, while current pop ‘queen’, Beyonce has even recently submitted an article on gender equality to the Shriver Report.

Like many of our famous female counterparts, VM Learning has always been proud supporters of gender equality.  Since its creation, VM have aimed to foster positive attitudes for women in the workplace and build more inclusive organisational cultures. This has been maintained through our successful ‘Women as Leaders’ program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Despite the program being 20 years old, it is still as relevant and popular as ever, which is reinforced by current statistics. Reports as recent as this year indicate that despite women making up 49% of the U.S labour force and 59% of the college-educated, entry level workforce they only make up 14.6% of executive officers, 8.1% of top earners and 4.6% of fortune 500 CEOs. Furthermore in the U.S, the average working woman continues to be paid 77% for every dollar the average man earns.

Similar statistics are reflected here in Australia, with only 15.4% of female directors on ASX200 Boards, while 52 ASX200 companies do not have a woman on their board at all.

This year the ‘Women as Leaders’ program has strived to address these statistics by developing strategies with the participants on how to deal with barriers against women in management and how to exploit and analyse current opportunities within the job market.

During the most recent program held from the 31st of July to the 11th of September, the recurring theme throughout the feedback was the notion of self-confidence.  The majority of participants claimed that being able to believe in themselves and their capability was the most valuable lesson gained from the experience:

“I loved this course, and have done it at a time when I really needed it; it has given me the self-confidence to take charge of my own career opportunities”.

“I thank the facilitators for such a wonderful experience; I have taken so much away from the course and now feel confident leading my team”.

“The facilitators have an obvious passion for the development of women as leaders, are capable and have a great deal of personal experience”.

This was the last ‘Women as Leaders’ program for the year and it was wonderful to finish on such a positive note, with all participants coming away from the program feeling confident that they are better equipped to lead effectively. This in turn, bodes well for the future of female advancement, as participant’s newly acquired leadership skills can then inspire others to peruse leadership roles.

If this is something you or your organisation would like to be a part of in future, don’t hesitate to call us on 07 3215 8888 or email us on enquires@vmlearning.com.au, to take part in our 2015 public program.  We will still be delivering the program in-house to some very valued clients this year, so if this is something you’d be interested in, don’t hesitate to contact us. You too can be an architect of change and help female professionals push back from the brink.

References

Judith Warner, Centre for American Progress, March 7th 2014, http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2014/03/07/85457/fact-sheet-the-womens-leadership-gap/

The shriver report, 12th of January 2014, http://shriverreport.org/a-womans-nation-pushes-back-from-the-brink-facts-and-figures/

Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency:

https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/2012_CENSUS%20REPORT.pdf