I spend a lot of time in discussions with women – to consider what we want and how we’re going to get it.
Never have I had a greater opportunity to take the discussion to the world stage, than at the annual OECD Forum in Paris this past June. As the host of a feature session, by invitation from this elite organisation of the top 30 world economies, I was facilitating a 90-minute Q&A with six other international women and taking questions from the floor in a packed auditorium.
Our topic was, “Closing the gender gap: 25 by 2025”. It refers to the ambition of G20 Leaders to reduce the gap between male and female workplace participation by 25% by 2025. I had been Australia’s representative at the Women20 engagement group to the G20 in China the week before, and was taking the discussion further at the OECD.
As the 90-minute session progressed, it took one man to pose one question and, for me, to change the course of the conversation. We were a panel of six women, with me moderating, and not one man!
Here’s the session: http://webcastcdn.viewontv.com/client/oecd/forum2016/01062016_red.html
Let’s have no more of women just talking amongst ourselves. We’ve been doing that for long enough. The good men among us are keen to be involved, so let’s involve them.
Rising to his feet, among a couple of hundred people in the room, the man inquired: “If this is a discussion that impacts women as well as men, why isn’t there a man on the panel?”
Touché. Sharp intake of breath by we women on stage and I realised, there and then, that this is a conversation that MUST more actively involve men who are keen to make a difference.
Around the world, there are already significant examples of collaboration and cooperation. And, of failure, where the outcomes have not met expectations.
Collaboration and cooperation is the key to progress, and women can’t do it in isolation. Let’s get to it!