What does it take to make the future look equal?

Breakfast meetings are not necessarily “our thing” but the chance to hear more about what different industries are doing to bring about gender equality was too good to pass.

In the banking sector, ANZ has launched a raft of initiatives aimed at tackling gender equality both in the workforce as well as the community. #equalfutures was created by a team led by Louise Eyres, Group General Manager Marketing at ANZ and includes a television advertising campaign, print advertisements, as well publicity. The message is that we need to reshape our systems and structures to stamp out unconscious bias in the workplace and community.

We were impressed, not least because the campaign is neither stuffy nor preachy. Its simplicity is refreshing.

What it does is to take a series of statistics and turn them into compelling reasons why the system needs to change. The statistics are not good:  globally women earn up to 36 per cent less than men; women represent more than 40 per cent of the world’s labour force but only control a quarter of the world’s wealth; 31 million girls worldwide are still denied a primary education; while in Australia, women spend almost twice as much time on unpaid work as men and about 90 per cent of Australian women will retire with inadequate savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle in retirement.

These reasons have been digested into a series of snappy videos created in conjunction with storyteller Jane Campion. She worked witha group of bright, confident and independent young girls to draw out their genuine responses to a series of disturbing statistical inequalities. The result is a striking, emotive piece of film named Smart Girls.

And girls are smart: they start so far ahead of boys in reading, writing, talking and yet fall behind because the system is simply not designed for women to succeed.

The false system starts, among other ways, with parenting and pocket money where girls are given less than boys for doing the same chores. As on “smart girl” says in the video. “It should be illegal.”

So what we can do?

At MediaWise, much of our work is focused on social justice issues and helping clients to say, enough is enough. A line has to be drawn in the sand. By helping them shape their impact stories so they resonate with stakeholders – donors, government, corporates – we play a little part in working to create an equal future and to change the dialogue, whether it is on ageing, research, homelessness, grief and loss or cycling.

On a personal level, as parents of a teenage daughter, we have taught her financial literacy, helped her to understand the importance of standing her ground when it comes to being paid on par with a teenage boy.

We don’t have it right, we don’t have all the solutions, but we do have a purpose. #equalfuture

Thank you to Cornwall Stodart who hosted the breakfast, one in a series of a FLOS initiative. Flos completed her articles at the legal firm, became the first woman admitted to practise law in Australia. FLOS has been created to recognise and remember the courage of Flos Greig and to provide a forum to promote the advancement of women as a continuation of what she began in 1905.