Press for Progress, the theme of International Women’s Day (8 March) this year, is a call for us all to not be complacent when it comes to taking action to promote gender equality and working towards a more equitable future.
[Related: “You can’t be what you can’t see”: addressing gender imbalance in the startup ecosystem]
With only 20% of Women in executive management roles (AFR Gender Equality at work 2018) and only 24% of founders in Australia’s startup sector being women, there is still more we can do. It is only with the small actions of individuals that we can collectively make the impact needed to ensure women are fully represented in leadership roles in business and the community.
Heads Over Heels is proud to be creating a platform for women to showcase their companies to business and community leaders, who in turn open their network to help make introductions that lead to new clients, partnerships, distribution and investment. Everyone who attends our events is making a commitment to help promote female entrepreneurship in an incredibly practical and impactful way.
There are clear actions that each of us can all take to #PressforProgress in our own workpaces including:
Maintaining a Gender Parity Mindset – by being more aware of any unconscious bias we may have when it comes to our perceived abilities of people. Challenge stereotypes and bias – Speak up when you see ‘unconscious bias’ occurring. Heads Over Heels aims to have 30% male attendance at our events, as male leaders can be powerful advocates of change in creating a genuinely diverse work culture, and in creating an ecosystem we can all be proud of.
Forge Positive Visibility of women – Create role models and celebrate their success, so that others are inspired to follow and create their own amazing companies and cultures. It is particularly important that we highlight the achievements of women entrepreneurs and other groups who have previously flown under the radar, to change perceptions of what an ‘entrepreneur’ looks like and how they behave. The Heads Over Heels Portfolio of companies and CEO’s are doing some incredible things in Australia and globally. Deb Noller from Switch Automation is now operating her smart building platform in Australia and the US, Jess May from Enabled Employment won 3 Gold Stevie awards in New York and Kristy Chong from Modibodi established distribution with Walmart and Amazon in the US. We need to ensure having women founders is a ‘norm’ and we don’t hold them to a higher standard than their male counter parts.
Celebrate Women’s achievements – Heads Over Heels aims to continuously celebrate the success of the women in our ecosystem who are forging new horizons in business and technology. We record all our presenters at our events to hopefully inspire more women to start thinking about their own entrepreneurial journey. It is important that we continuously celebrate and highlight the success of Australian female entrepreneurs who are building businesses in a range of industries. We are proud to promote women who represent an increasingly diverse spectrum of businesses including freight and logistics, healthcare, finance, property technology and biotechnology.
About the author
Fiona Boyd is the CEO of Heads Over Heels, an Australian not-for-profit that connects female entrepreneurs with influential industry and business leaders who can introduce them to key players in their own networks.