A big start to the year, came thanks to The Global Foundation Rome Roundtable. I was invited to facilitate a panel – on women’s economic empowerment, as one of Australia’s W20 delegates.
An inspiring international event, brought together leaders from business, academia, civil society, government and faiths – the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Jewish faith.
We came together to discuss the big issues – globalisation, labour markets, ethical investment and, of course, the inclusion of women in the workforce and their economic inclusion. A wonderful opportunity to put the W20 agenda on the table in front of leading world figures, and affirmation that we have more to do to close the workforce participation and opportunity gap.
The highlight for all delegates – an audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis. He endorsed the work being done by the Foundation, and in his address to our gathering said this: “I would restate my conviction that a world economic system that discards men, women and children because they are no longer considered useful or productive according to criteria drawn from the world of business or other organizations, is unacceptable, because it is inhumane.”
**Further to that – the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, in February this year (a month after he attended The Rome Roundtable) committed the Bank to ‘specifically’ aim to add more women to the ranks – as part of reaching a range of diversity targets in the next 5 years.
Notably he said: “To support our objectives, we have introduced diversity targets that are reviewed and challenged by Court. Specifically, we aim to triple both the proportions of women in our senior roles, to 35% by 2020, and of BAME employees in these roles to 13% by 2022. As a first step, we are fishing from a larger pond and removing perceived barriers to entry. We want to make the Bank a more obvious career destination for a wide range recruits: young school leavers who want to develop their skills as apprentices to graduates looking for their first full-time job, people who wish to return to work, or experienced professionals who are considering a career change and want to contribute to public policy.”