For some time I’ve been looking at how we can get more women into my line of work; leadership positions in the Liberal Party and in the State Government.
And I thought we had a lot of work to do before I read that mining is the most male-dominated industry in the country; under 20% of its workforce are women.
And while we’ve made some good progress in the Liberal Party and in government, we still have some way to go.
I’ve read Australia’s global ranking for the number of women parliamentarians has slipped from 19th in 1999, to 49th place behind Tunisia, Sudan and Uganda.
And that you are more likely to be an executive in an ASX200 if your name is Peter, David or Michael, than if you are a woman.
So there’s some way to go. It’s an ongoing, and a very important body of work.
And that’s why we are all here today. We recognise it’s an important issue.
The OECD has observed that gender equality in decision making contributes to improved trust and confidence in public institutions. And in my business we can always do with more of that, as we’re often reminded of the “trust deficit”.
Gender equity means more inclusive and more balanced perspectives in decision making
More women in leadership positions provides strong and positive role models for younger women and girls.
Gender equality is critical to changing negative community attitudes that are so often the cause of domestic violence.
So, whatever our sphere of work, it is important, and it requires a deliberate course of action. Because the statistics show that things don’t necessarily just change for the better over time.
In my case, we’ve set targets, and we’ve put in place specific initiatives to achieve them.
My Government was Tasmania’s first to report on the baseline data from which we can track progress and address gender-based inequalities at all levels in our community.
We have developed a five year whole-of-government strategy to tackle gender inequity.
Our State Service Diversity and Inclusion Framework 2017-2020 sets out a series of actions to improve inclusive recruitment practices, identify barriers, and establish initiatives to support women in the public service.
All Heads of the State Service commit to, and accountable for, improved gender diversity; and with a particular emphasis in executive leadership positions.
We are increasing the number of women on government boards and committees - with a target of 50 per cent representation by 2020, and are making good progress.
I appointed a dedicated Minister for Women - the first in Tasmania since 2006; our first female Speaker; and our first female Governor. All based on merit, but very powerful appointments that dramatically shift the way we see women in leadership roles.
Thanks to the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council, Women in Resources and the TCCC, and all of you all being involved in this important forum which focuses us on achieving a more inclusive and diverse workforce in our great industry sectors of mining and energy, which are such an important part of our State’s business.
So let’s keep at it! It’s important, and we can make all difference.