Image: L-R Professor Rosie Campbell, Catherine Fox AM, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, Professor Michelle Ryan, AIIW CEO Julie Reilly OAM
On Thursday, 6 October, we hosted our annual Gender-Wise Event in partnership with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL), featuring the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, with the generous support of PwC.
The Gender-Wise event gathered philanthropic funders, influencers, and supporters to hear from Julia Gillard, Professor Rosie Campbell, and Professor Michelle Ryan from the GIWL on the crucial role of research and evidence in driving progress towards gender equality.
The annual Australians Investing in Women (AIIW) event aims to inform thinking and inspire giving, encouraging an intentional focus as to how giving impacts women and girls, says AIIW CEO, Julie Reilly OAM.
“Research is critical to achieving gender equality. With better evidence, we can learn more about what works for women and girls, to close existing gender gaps and leverage the multiplier effect.
“Without this intentional research using a gender lens and disaggregated data, women and girls are often invisible in social issues, and the programs and policies that respond to them, further entrenching and exacerbating existing inequalities,” said Julie.
Just last week AIIW launched new research, undertaken by Per Capita, to highlight the experience of women in Australia’s housing affordability crisis, which demonstrates the importance of applying a gender lens to the available data.
The report called ‘A Home of One’s Own’, found that while data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics consistently shows that more men than women are homeless, women’s experience of homelessness is not adequately captured in this analysis, which records the residence of Australians on the one night the census is taken every five years.
“Women without their own home are hidden by census statistics, as they manage their homelessness differently to men — they are less likely to ‘sleep rough’, often because they are accompanied by dependent children. Instead, they seek temporary shelter with family and friends, and are more likely to seek help from government and community services,” states the report.
The discussions held during the Gender-Wise event further underscored the importance of going beyond the numbers and data to understand the impacts on women and girls in leadership, something the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership specialises in.
“We need to know where the change is happening and where things are stagnating, but looking at the numbers is just the first step, we need to look at the experience and the context – we need to go beyond the numbers, said Professor Michelle Ryan, Director of the GIWL at the Australian National University.
“There’s often this idea that women are risk averse. They are not fundamentally risk averse, but when you do the cost/benefit analysis, that analysis is very different for men and women.
“Women’s apparent lack of risk is often a very real response. We need to change those systems, so they are rewarded when they do take risks – we need to make the risks pay off for them,” said Michelle.
Changing the systems to be rewarded for risk is something our first and only female Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, is all too familiar with.
Interviewed by AIIW Board Member Catherine Fox AM, Ms Gillard reflected on what has changed 10 years on from her infamous misogyny speech, which has inspired her new book ‘Not Now, Not Ever’, and she reflected on the role philanthropy can play in progressing gender equality.
“A lot of change has happened, and it should reassure us that change is possible…The fact that we’ve moved the conversation forward should give us heart, it means we’re having the right conversation and people are putting a light on misogyny and sexism, said Ms Gillard
Philanthropy has moved forward too, transforming from “feel-good giving” to an evidence-based approach.
“Philanthropy has changed a lot, and it’s partly due to the huge global philanthropic funds, like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – they’ve brought along evidence and data to what they do, and have worked out that the gender dynamic is key to transformative change.
While the event highlighted the work of the GIWL and invited support for their important research agenda on women’s leadership, Ms Gillard also highlighted the importance of investing in girls.
“The single best investment you can make for a country to build peace and prosperity is to invest in girls’ education.”
Thank you to the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership for partnering with us to deliver our 2022 Gender-Wise Event, and for the important work being done to ensure evidence is driving effective action on gender equality. We again thank PwC for generously hosting us on Gadigal Country.