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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

November 26, 2021
| Womens Advocacy

Founder's Weekly 1st Oct 2021: Gender politics claims Gladys Berejiklian

One standard for male leaders and a separate one for women

Fellow remarkable community,

Today NSW Premier Glady Berejiklian resigned. Regardless of what may or may not be uncovered in the following weeks, the Premier was a passionate, active and involved leader who did an incredible job managing NSW during her time in office. The way she managed the fires of 2019-20 and the fine balance between health and industry during the current pandemic are testaments to this. 

Australian politics cannot afford to keep losing strong women in power. 

Fortunately, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard hasn’t given up her fight to close the gender pay gap yet what’s frustrating is that the superannuation pay gap is almost double the pay gap. 

There was inspiration this week too where in AFL first, women led both teams in the 2021 Grand Final.

There’s so much to unpack with this week’s wrap so grab a drink or a snack (or both) and get stuck in!

Gender politics claims Gladys Berejiklian

The resignation of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has us asking whether gender politics has claimed another female victim. 

Berejiklian’s decision comes after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) confirmed it is investigating whether the NSW Premier “breached public trust” or “encouraged corrupt conduct”.

The investigation relates to the allegations surrounding her secret relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire and whether she knew anything that should have been reported to corruption authorities earlier.

“I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was first called to give evidence in a public hearing nearly 12 months ago,” she said.

“Therefore, it pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the Office of Premier, my resignation will take effect as soon as the New South Wales Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government, a fresh start.”

Berejiklian said that given the current COVID-19 situation, her resignation “could not occur at a worse time” and doing so “is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do”.

“I love my job and I love serving the community, but I have been given no option,” she added.

“Serving you has been the greatest privilege of my life. Please know that every day I gave it my all and worked as hard as I could to create a better future for our state and its people. I truly believe that NSW is a place where every person, irrespective of their background and circumstances has the opportunity to be their best to make a difference.”

Last month, Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insisted Christian Porter has done nothing illegal by accepting anonymous donations and said he expects he can return to the frontbench in the future.

Joyce said Porter simply “had a bad day at the wicket”.

The former industry, science and technology minister, quit the frontbench two weeks ago after it was revealed he used a structure he described as a blind trust to receive and administer donations from anonymous benefactors to help pay his legal bills for his since-discontinued defamation case against the ABC.

The defamation case regarded an online article he alleged portrayed him as the perpetrator of a rape in 1988. He denied the allegation and the case was settled in May.

“The ministerial code of conduct is not a discussion about legal or illegal,” Joyce said. “It’s a discussion about what the Prime Minister believes is acceptable to be a minister. Mr Porter has not done anything illegal. If he had, the police would be here.”

As gender equality advocate Tarang Chawla noted on Twitter: "Gladys Berejiklian has resigned. Christian Porter remains in federal parliament. I can’t help but feel there’s one standard for male leaders and a separate one for women."

The inspiring women changing the face of AFL

Sometimes the progress of gender equality comes in unexpected and inspiring ways. Last weekend, in an AFL first, women led both teams in the 2021 Grand Final.

It’s the first year there has been more than one club with a woman as president - the trailblazer was Peggy O’Neal, who has overseen Richmond winning three of the last four premierships. Having three women in the top job comes just four years after the AFL belatedly introduced a womens’ competition.

Melbourne Football Club won the Grand Final this year, breaking a 57-year premiership drought. Kate Roffey was appointed president when the board moved against her predecessor Glenn Bartlett a month into the season.

“Could I have ever dreamed I would be president of the Melbourne Football Club? Absolutely not, but stranger things have happened, I guess,” Roffey told The Age.

“Supporters, when I took over, were scared or whatever of a woman as president and I would say ‘stop this! We have to stop. We are not the Melbourne Football Club of 1952, or 1968 or 1976, we are the Melbourne Football Club of 2021 and this is different. We are setting ourselves up to be the best club,’” Roffey said.

“It is a change, and it is a new era, and I think people are noticing it. It does reflect a new progressive, modern era.”

Melbourne defeated the Western Bulldogs, a team headed by lifelong fan Kylie Watson-Wheeler.

“I think it speaks a lot to the progress and where we are heading [to have female presidents of both grand finalists] and I think it reinforces the perspective you don’t have to be male to be a strong, collaborative, decisive leader and in the selection of the president, gender really has nothing to do with it,” Watson-Wheeler said.

Watson-Wheeler attributes her appointment to the board of the Western Bulldogs being 50% female.

“They have all achieved their positions on the board based on their merit and their expertise, it’s never been about filling [female] quotas,” she said. “When your mind is open to just finding the best people for the role, that naturally happens.”

While only one woman could claim victory for her team, it’s clear that all three are winners when it comes to changing gendered perceptions of the game.

Australia comes last in gender pay gap study

The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership has ranked Australia last in a gender pay gap study. To feel “concerned” is an understatement but simply put, I’m frustrated and exhausted.

The Institute studied the gender pay gap reporting frameworks in Australia, France, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Australia received a score of just 4 out of 11, ranking equal last with the UK. Spain was the top ranked nation, scoring 8.5.

Indicators were best practice reporting, including accountability, coverage, enforcement and penalties, intersectional elements (such as race and ethnicity), transparency and action plans.

This is such disappointing news when Australia was once a world leader in this space. We were once pioneers when it came to legislating for equal pay in 1969 and 1972, and with gender equality reporting in place since 1986. Since then, however, progress has stalled.

Australia has fallen from 14th to 70th on women’s economic participation in the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index, with the gender pay gap among full-time employees still at 14.2%.

Despite Australian legislation enshrining equal pay for equal work in 1972, nearly 50 years later the average Australian woman still has to work an extra 61 days a year to earn the same pay as the average man.

According to Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, one way of measuring our failure to achieve gender equality is the continuing disparity between men’s and women’s pay, which she describes as a “symptom of the power imbalance that defines workforces around the world”.

“Unaddressed, the gender-based distortion in economic and workforce outcomes will hinder global efforts to build fairer and more inclusive societies in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” she said.

According to researchers from the College of Business and Economics and GIWL, ANU, Australia needs to make its current legislation work harder to incentivise employers to reduce their gender pay gaps.

As Professor Michelle Ryan, Director of Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the Australian National University, notes: “This persistent inequality has important consequences. It leaves women economically precarious, it creates significant gaps in retirement savings, and exacerbates the poor financial outcomes that women face in both the short and long term. As well as the negative impacts on individual women, by devaluing the work of one gender, Australian society and the Australian economy are missing out on the full impact of what women and men can contribute.”

The researchers at ANU say there are three key ways Australia can be a driving force in reducing, and ultimately eliminating, gender pay gaps.

In their companion study to the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership report – “Gender pay gap reporting in Australia --Time for an upgrade” – they have recommended three pathways for positive change.

Recommendation 1: Publish gender pay gaps of individual organisations to enable external stakeholders to hold employers accountable for gender equality performance.

Recommendation 2: Nominate outcome-based minimum standards related to rolling average reductions in the gender pay gap to establish expectations for closing the gap.

Recommendation 3: Enact the existing non-compliance sanctions to exclude non-compliant organisations from government procurement, contracting and financial assistance to reaffirm Federal government commitment to gender equality and deter further slippage in compliance rates.

Australian women have waited far too long for the Australian Government to close the gender pay gap. Our leaders need to step up and effectively legislate so significant change finally happens…and fast.   

Abusive private school brothers share toxic bond

Further disturbing proof of the culture of toxic entitlement simmering in Sydney private schools was revealed this week. 

It’s been revealed that Dan Drummond, the brother of a former Knox Grammar student who was arrested for punching a woman in the face, also had a run-in with police due over shocking and intolerable behaviour towards women.

Nicholas Drummond was placed on a good behaviour bond last month, with no conviction recorded, after assaulting a woman in December. His older brother Dan was cautioned by police in 2017 after allegedly threatening an ex-girlfriend.

According to the Daily Mail, Dan sent a series of disturbing messages to his ex-girlfriend, including one that said "You can run but you can't hide. I know where you live".

The woman was found by her sister shaking with fear. A friend confronted Dan via message saying to him: “That message is worrying dude.”

He allegedly responded “plan on scaring the s**t out of her”, with the friend replying “Why? What the f***. You're crossing the line dude this is getting out of hand.”

As for Nicholas, his appalling behaviour included calling the woman he punched a "slut" and telling her to put her "tits away".

Nicholas has issued a statement apologising for his actions.

“I would like to offer an unconditional apology to the people I have hurt by my actions,” he said. 

“They fill me with shame and regret. I am deeply remorseful. The judge's comments ... have exposed me to intense media scrutiny. But the fact remains that I was at fault and I must own it. I fully accept responsibility for my actions. I do not seek public forgiveness, but know I will have to work hard towards earning a second chance in life. Whatever I need to do, I will strive to do it.”

“I am a 20-year-old who did a terrible thing on one night of my life and now I am told it can go one of two ways for me: be crushed to nothingness by those who don't know me or attempt to rehabilitate and better myself with a view to many years of positively contributing to society. I am going to aim for the latter. Sorry again to everyone.”

"(Nick made) a lewd and completely inappropriate remark towards someone he didn't know but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative," the judge noted during the trial.  

The woman has since told the Daily Mail how disappointed she was by the judge’s comments about the way she was dressed, which she said was damaging for young women.

“I didn't consider a long sleeve top and shorts provocative,” she said. “I went to a private school myself and none of my friends seem to be so offended by what I was wearing. It's a shame. I thought we were definitely progressing in society and women were being heard but clearly not.”

There is no exception for doing and saying terrible things. The judge who let Nicholas off the hook has proven that regardless of age the privilege of white men is socially more valuable than the safety of all genders. It’s disgusting and incredibly misogynistic.

This apology is quite clearly birthed from media scrutiny, not from the innate desire to truly “rehabilitate” and change for the better. If age isn’t just a number then maturity isn’t just for the old.

Women retiring in poverty over gender super gap 

A new report has revealed there’s a second pay gap women need to worry about: females retiring with a third less super than males due to what’s been dubbed the “gender super gap”.

According to an Industry Super Australia report 1.45 million mothers have received the Commonwealth’s parental leave pay in the last 10 years, taking time out of paid work to raise children, but losing thousands in retirement savings.

They have missed out on more than $1.6 billion in superannuation because the Federal Government refuses to pay super on its parental leave scheme. Close to 171,000 women missed out on $216.7 million in super payments in the 2019/20 financial year alone.

While the gender pay gap is concerning at 14.2%, the gender super gap is almost double that figure, at a shocking 28%. Women retire with a median superannuation balance of $146,900 compared to men, who walk away with $204,107.

Industry Super Australia recommends three ways to close the gender super gap:

- Paying superannuation on Commonwealth Parental Leave Pay would mean a mother of two would be $14,000 better off at retirement.


- State and Territory Governments can ensure that all direct and indirect employees of the state are paid superannuation on paid parental leave. If these governments extended the coverage of superannuation to paid parental leave, more than 400,000 workers, mostly women, would benefit. 


- Employers can also choose to pay super on paid parental leave. Only 6.9% of enterprise agreements include a provision to pay superannuation on paid parental leave. This means more than 2.3 million employees do not receive it under their enterprise agreement. If all employers were to pay super on their paid parental leave, around an additional 1.7 million women would benefit.


Industry Super Australia advocacy director Georgia Brumby said: “This is an opportunity for the Prime Minister and governments of all levels to lead the way and ensure super is paid on parental leave. Otherwise, we’ll continue to see too many women retire into poverty.”

Women are better investors than men

Women are better investors than men. 

Yes, it may seem surprising to some, considering that statistically, fewer women are investing than men, but it is true. Women only make up 18% of Australia's 750,000 active online investors, even though they gain a 12% better return on average than men. When given the tools, women are more likely to make well-informed investment decisions. 

So why isn't the number of female investors higher, you ask? It's a matter of confidence. Only 9% of women think they can outperform their male counterparts. Many women think of investing as too complicated or that a lot of money is required, so they lack confidence. 

It's not surprising, though, when only 29% of women have been taught about investing from a young age compared to 41% of men, according to a CBA study. Moreover, according to a 2018 ASIC report, although women play a large part in everyday financial decisions, they are less likely to plan, acquire, and manage long-term investments, with a staggering 85% of women under 35 who do not understand fundamental investment concepts. 

Ziinkle, a new Australian dating app led by female co-founders Elisse Alexander and Melanie Leahy, has set out to actively increase and empower the number of young, female online micro-investors. As young females in the startup world, Elisse and Melanie have experienced first-hand the unconscious discrimination women face when raising seed capital and the 'boys club' culture that is still very much present. 

The new Female Founder Funding Report FY2017-FY2021 found companies founded by women secured just 4 percent of investments and generally banked significantly less than those founded by men. In addition, seed rounds were on average 63.3 percent less for solely female-founded teams compared with all-male teams. This is despite a Boston Consulting Group study released in June 2018 finding that female-led startups returned an average of 78 cents in revenue for every dollar of funding invested into startups, while male-led startups returned 31 cents. 

The Australian dating app is the first-ever dating app to offer prospective users the opportunity to invest through crowdfunding platform Birchal. 

Ziinkle is a new innovative dating app designed so that singles can match and meet in real-life, in real-time, focusing on helping people find and nurture meaningful and organic romantic connections. 

Ziinkle's unique point of difference is the venue search feature which allows users to see where other singles are out and about socially. Based on the preferences entered, users will see on a map view, in numbers, where other singles are in social venues. Ziinkle can be used at home to plan a night out. For privacy reasons, users will only be shown in numbers at social venues. Once at a venue, singles will see users profiles, giving them the option to meet in real-life or send an introduction nudge first.

Elisse and Melanie took the opportunity to create acquisition momentum and raise capital to build their fully functioning app by launching a crowdfunding campaign with Birchal. Female-led businesses raised 25% more in their equity crowdfunding campaigns in 2020 and had more than three times as many investors as businesses that didn't have a female founder co-founder, Birchal has found.

Whilst Ziinkle has raised over $400,000, only 32% of investments have come from females. Elisse and Melanie have set themselves a personal goal of a 50/50 split of male and female investments in the hopes of empowering more women to jump into the world of investing. With minimum investments starting at $250, Ziinkles's crowdfunding platform on Birchal is a phenomenal way for women to dive straight into the world of investing.

Ziinkle's crowdfunding campaign ends on Thursday, 7 October, and you can invest and view the offer at www.birchal.com/company/ziinkle (always consider the general CSF risk warning and offer documents before investing). 

Here’s to the end of another week.
Happy Friday, remarkable women!

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