Where are all the women?
Many high-profile conferences, events, taskforces and media outlets lack gender balance, despite there often being no shortage of qualified women to contribute. The ‘2019 Women for Media Report’ snapshot found that only 18% of voices represented in major newspapers’ business pages were those of women; and it is estimated that only 30% of event speakers in Australia are women. The impact of imbalances such as these has consequences for women in leadership, gender equality, organisations and our community.
Consequences of (in)visibility
A lack or absence of women leaders in public and professional forums is a consequence of an entrenched system of inequality.
When speakers or contributors are usually male, audiences may be provided a narrow perspective on the issues being canvassed.
This lack of diversity limits the quality and range of a conversation, and the potential outcomes or actions that might arise from it.
When visible role models and spokespeople are predominantly male, the absence of women in leadership becomes normalised. Fewer women choose to speak. People also have limited access to knowledgeable women leaders they can learn from.
Without the opportunity for women to be recognised as thought leaders, women miss out on profile-building opportunities – an important contributor to both experience and recognition of their expertise. The community also misses out on the perspectives drawn from the insights and experiences of women in the community.