Swinburne will host International Women’s Day events featuring inspirational speakers at the Hawthorn, Croydon and Wantirna campuses to acknowledge the university’s commitment to gender equality.
Celebrated on 8 March each year, International Women’s Day recognises acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The theme for 2018, #PressforProgress, is a call to press for gender parity by motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Across the three campuses, six inspirational female leaders will share their personal stories and experience of what ‘press for progress’ means to them.
Swinburne’s Professor Sarah Maddison, Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Innovation and Change, will speak about pressing for gender parity at the Wantirna campus.
“Every International Women’s Day we hear from the latest studies estimating how long it will take to reach gender parity at the rate we’re currently progressing. In 2018, the World Economic Forum estimated this would take 216 years,” says Professor Maddison.
“I can’t wait that long and our children, grand-children and great grand-children can’t wait that long. We need to press for progress towards closing these gender gaps.”
Professor Maddison hopes to encourage women to participate in STEM and not to be dissuaded by gender stereotypes.
“We know diversity drives innovation, so we need both men and women to participate in STEM and help us find solutions to the challenges ahead of us and create our future.”
Speaking at the Hawthorn campus, founder and CEO of emberin, Maureen Frank, urges us to continue to strive for gender equality.
“Some senior leaders believe that the push for gender equality is done, but it’s not. We have made progress, but I think it’s important to keep up the momentum. I still see resistance to gender equity that reminds me there’s a long way to go.”
As a single mother, Maureen left the financial security of her corporate job to build emberin, a pioneer in inclusion and diversity solutions.
The company works with businesses to deliver inclusive leadership training and career mentoring for women and men, providing them with the practical tools to make success happen for women in their workforces.
“I was disturbed there were many women, particularly in the work environment, whose potential was underestimated. My journey at emberin has been to turn the embers I know exist in every woman into raging fires.”
Maureen says she is honoured to speak at Swinburne’s International Women’s Day event and hopes to inspire people to continue to push for gender parity in the workforce.
The formal ceremony will be followed by an art installation and a networking opportunity with afternoon tea refreshments.
Swinburne continues to push for gender parity and has long been a champion of workplace gender equality.
In 2018, Swinburne was again recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the ninth year in a row.