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Commit to the Panel Pledge

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | August 25th, 2015

25 August 2015
Dear colleagues,

Chief Executive Women, the Male Champions of Change and the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia share a common goal – a significant and sustainable increase in the representation of women in leadership in Australia. We are working together to identify approaches, put them into practice and disseminate those that are successful.

The purpose of this letter is to invite you to commit to the Panel Pledge. Attached we include information about the Panel Pledge, its rationale and how it can be implemented.

You may share our concern in noting that in Australia and around the world, many high-profile conferences and events lack gender balance, particularly in regards to keynote speakers and panels.

We experience this first-hand. As members of Chief Executive Women, we are more often than not the only woman on stage at events. As Male Champions of Change we consistently find ourselves sitting on panels that are exclusively male.

The absence of women at public professional forums is a problem. Because speakers are usually male, audiences are given an exclusive perspective. The lack of diversity limits the quality of the conversation. Moreover, when visible role models are male, absence of women perpetuates absence of women. Fewer women choose to speak, and fewer are chosen. Compounding this problem is that without the opportunity to serve on panels women lack profile-building opportunities, which is an important contributor to experience and recognition.

At the suggestion of the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, the Male Champions of Change in 2012 committed to a Panel Pledge: when asked to be involved in or sponsor a panel or conference, we each inquire about organiser efforts to ensure women leaders are represented.

We believe gender imbalance at events is entirely solvable and the opportunity for improving is awaiting widespread sign-up.

With this in mind, we invite all Australian leaders to commit to the Panel Pledge.

We hope you will join us.

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WLIA and CEW award two prestigious scholarships to executive women in STEM

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | May 24th, 2015

Chief Executive Women (CEW) and the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) today announced two executive education scholarships for female leaders to attend Harvard Business School’s prestigious Women’s Leadership Forum in Boston, USA.

The two scholarships are being awarded in partnership for the fifth consecutive year and form part of CEW and WLIA’s 2015 program of scholarships. The Harvard Women’s Leadership Forum scholarships are awarded to an executive woman from the corporate sector and an executive woman from the government or not-for-profit sectors.

This year’s awardees have emerged from a stringent selection process and are leaders who will shape Australia’s future. The scholarship aims to equip executive women to reach their potential and make decisions that have a social impact which goes beyond their organisation’s bottom line.

Carol Schwartz AM, Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, said: “The two recipients of this year’s scholarships are both exceptionally talented and dynamic female executives who are respected for their thought leadership and business acumen. Importantly, both women are strong advocates, mentors and sponsors of other women in their professional spheres of influence.”

Diane Smith-Gander, President of Chief Executive Women, said: “Since 2011, CEW’s strategic alliance with the WLIA has enabled nine of Australia’s most senior corporate and not-for-profit executives to attend the Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School. All of these women have returned to lead their organisations armed with cutting edge capability, and an esteemed network of global leaders from their respective cohorts.”

“In 2015, we are sending two extremely impressive scholars,

  • Kate Gunn, Chief Operating Officer, ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), University of Sydney
  • Julie Shuttleworth, General Manager (Solomon Mine), Fortescue Metals Group

Both Kate Gunn and Julie Shuttleworth are proven leaders in a sector that is critical to Australia’s productivity: science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).”

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Media contacts

Amy Mullins on 03 9653 5316 | [email protected]

Amanda Wilson on 0418 391 201 | [email protected]

Find details of CEW’s full scholarships program for 2015 here.

Find details of WLIA’s full scholarships program for 2015 here.

About Chief Executive Women

Chief Executive Women is the pre-eminent organisation representing more than 300 of Australia’s most senior women from the corporate, public service, academic and not-for- profit sectors. Its mission is “women leaders enabling women leaders”.