Counterpoint: Culture, structure and workplace diversity

David McClure

Political reporter and Ms Represented creator Annabel Crabb will join business and public sector luminaries Lucy Turnbull, Wendy McCarthy and Amy Brown on Thursday September 23 for a special presentation on structural and cultural barriers to workplace diversity.

The Counterpoint: Women in Government series explores the kind of structural frameworks and cultural settings need to be in place to get more women into more senior roles across the public and private sectors.

Annabel Crabb
Counterpoint: Annabel Crabb, Wendy McCarthy, Lucy Turnbull, Amy Brown, Rob Le Busque and Ben Grubb

In Australia, women hold less than 15 per cent of chair positions and just 28 per cent of directorships, according to the government’s latest Gender workplace statistics. And some 30 per cent of boards and governing bodies still have no female directors.

By contrast, only 0.4 per cent of boards and governing bodies had no male directors,

As part of the series, an In Conversation event on September 23 will begin with a fireside chat between Ms Crabb and Rob Le Busque, the regional vice president of the Verizon Business Group, which is a presentation partner of the Counterpoint series.

The chat will explore the making of the ground-breaking Ms Represented series which focused on the women who had disrupted the Australian political landscape.

Ms Crabb will then be joined by Wendy McCarthy, Lucy Turnbull, and Amy Brown for a panel discussion and audience Q&A.

Author, businesswoman and activist Wendy McCarthy will share experience from her many senior leadership roles across the public and private sector for more than 50 years.

In 1968, newly pregnant Ms McCarthy and her husband joined the Childbirth Education Association, campaigning for the rights of fathers to be present at the births of their children and abortion law reform. It kickstarted a life of activism and leadership.

Ms McCarthy went on to help set up the progressive Women’s Electoral Lobby at a time in Australia when there was no maternity leave and restricted access to contraception.

A giant of Australia’s women’s rights movement, Ms McCarthy also set up her own consulting firm in the mid-90s, advising on leadership and diversity, and went on to sit on multiple boards and was University of Canberra for a decade.

Lucy Turnbull, an urbanist, businesswoman and local government politician brings a unique perspective to the discussion through her own work in the public and private sector, including sitting on several boards and as the first female Lord Mayor of Sydney in the early 2000s

With a background in commercial law and investment banking, Ms Turnbull is now director of a private investment firm and is active in the not-for-profit sector. She continues to campaign on what she describes as a “gender equity chasm” in Australia.

Investment NSW Chief executive officer Amy Brown is a rising leader, offering insight from within the new state agency connecting government with the private sector.

With a background in law, Ms Brown joined the New South Wales Public Sector in 2018 and believes enabling conversations can foster a culture of strong leadership.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Editor Ben Grubb.

The Counterpoint – Women in Government virtual event will be held online from 4pm to 5pm on Thursday 23 September. You can register for the event here. The event is presented by in partnership with Verizon Business Group.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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