It’s been one year since I was a finalist at the National Telstra Business Women’s Awards, and I’m so excited for the next group of amazing business women to attend the event, which I must say was one of the most incredible nights of my life.
The Telstra Business Women’s Awards turned 20 this year, and in the lead up to the national finals in Melbourne next Wednesday, the 2014 finalists were surveyed to find out their views on what it means to be a business woman in Australia today.
The survey shows that there are two key issues facing women in business: firstly, it is getting more women into senior leadership roles; and secondly, the issue of pay equity.
A staggering 39 per cent of leading business women surveyed said they have encountered a pay gap compared with a male doing the same job.
The broad consensus when it comes to addressing the major issues is that we still have a way to go in achieving pay equity, with 70 per cent of women agreeing that to achieve pay equity, employers need to be willing to act to close the pay gap, and 59 per cent also think that women need to become better at negotiating over pay.
It’s what we hear over and over again… get better at asking for what you want.
In the past two decades there have been a number of changes that have significantly impacted women in business.
There is now a public debate about the issue of gender equality; there is certainly less emphasis on gender stereotypes; and recognition that gender diversity improves organisational performance.
However, one of the challenges we face is around work-life balance. To tackle this, the survey found top businesswomen rely on family support, flexible work practices, technology, and outsourcing everything from gardening and childcare through to dog walking and bookkeeping.
I can tell you from personal experience, I am one of those women that outsources as much as I can to have as much time with family and friends and for myself.
But gender equality is not just about the workplace or what we get paid. It is so much broader than this.
Domestic violence and the percentage of women and girls who are refugees and among the world’s poor are as much a part of gender equality as women in leadership.
The issue of gender equality is a global one. It is not just an issue for women, but for men and women. I believe that the issue of gender equality is not the legacy we need to leave our kids, but one we can resolve in our lifetime.
Because if we are not equal then what are we?
To change requires a revolution. And revolutions start as a ripple. If each of us, men and women, choose to start a ripple, no matter how small, we would affect revolutionary change and it would not take another lifetime for our children to achieve gender equality.
Top 10 pieces of advice from the 2014 Telstra Business Women’s Awards finalists
- In encouraging women to lead by example, here are the top 10 pieces of advice from the 2014 Telstra Business Women’s Awards finalists.
- Be honest to yourself and others.
- Listen to all advice but stay true to your beliefs and values.
- Back yourself and draw on your intuition and emotional intelligence to make better choices.
- Never give up or let your ego get in the way.
- If you are in a leadership position, scaffold other women to follow in your path.
- Be your authentic self.
- Lead with confidence, flexibility and compassion.
- Praise, praise, praise.
- Learn to say ‘no’ at times and don’t apologise for it.
- Be exceptional at what you do and your gender won’t matter.
About Sadhana Smiles
Her renowned wit, inspiring personality and acute ability to capitalise on a commercial opportunity (with a track record of producing significant growth in businesses regardless of the market), along with her innate sense to quickly identify issues affecting business performance, have earned Sadhana the respect of some of the most admired leaders of the Real Estate world in Australia today – and indeed many of those who work with her daily.
Sadhana has earned a reputation as a popular speaker and presenter, regularly asked to present at some of the industry’s most prestigious events including ARPM, AREC, AREL, RELC, the REINSW Women’s Conference and many franchise conferences.
Sadhana is a regular contributor to a number of National Real Estate journals and publications, and has been touted by the media as a leading female voice in the industry.
Sadhana is also the founder of not-for-profit oganisation, Links Fiji, which works to improve people’s health via education and medical assistance creating real change in basic and preventative health issues.