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ACT Australia
Advancing Women Leadership and Diversity
Interests: Increasing the representation of women in positions of power and leadership
Recent Activity
How can we embrace the 'Asian Century' when our organisations are led by white, Anglo men and a handful of women? Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Women learn from other women's stories and need role models. Don't be invisible. Speak up and share your story so that others can learn from you and learn to believe in themselves. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
The latest panacea prescribed for ailing organisations has been called unconscious bias training. There are many good reasons to raise our awareness so that we make intentional decisions informed by relevant facts. But you cannot train our unconscious mind. Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
When you can't beat them, join them. Then beat them: advice from AVM Margaret Staib
When women work in organisations where they're not promoted or given the same opportunities as their male colleagues, they begin to think they're just not good enough. Vicious circle!
At the ACT’s Women in Information and Communication breakfast this morning a packed room listened to ‘lessons I have learned so far’ from Air Vice Marshall Margaret Staib. Her advice to women: When the answer is no, ask again – but ask a person one level higher. Bureaucracy: requires a tolerance for stupidity and sometimes a bulldozer. Patience is a virtue, but the persistence to continue until you succeed is a blessing. When you can’t beat them, join them. Then beat them. Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
It’s another case of double standards, and something we’ve internalised as truth: women take things too personally and allow their feelings to overrule their judgement. Don’t be fooled. Men are as prone to personalising things as women. Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Women should not be forced to choose between having a career or a family. Organisations must imbed systems, processes and practices to enable women to work flexibly without penalty and leaders must be held accountable for ensuring they are used. Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
‘Women are no good at maths and science – right?’ This was the cautious assertion made by a young woman recently. The answer is: probably, if that’s what you believe because of the consistent explicit and implicit messages you’ve heard about your ability and competencies. When I went to school – a selective girls’ high school – the classes were full of outstanding, confident students who all excelled at maths and science – not at all aware that they weren’t good at it. My family moved and I found myself at a coed school where girls comprised 25% of the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Waiting for a tap on the shoulder to kick start your career? Why not think ahead and position yourself so it happens sooner rather than later? Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
It is possible to combine a career with caring responsibilities. It's a matter of spending as much time on building your profile and reputation as you do on delivering. Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Outdated stereotypes and assumptions about women and their 'choices' continue. When young people believe and repeat them, we should be nervous about whether anything will change. Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Whether women adapt their style and act like the boys, or use their femininity to make the blokes feel good, women still miss out on leadership roles. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
In times of economic uncertainty and political opportunism, women can lead the way by staying connected to their feelings, and reminding ourselves that acts of love and compassion can change the world. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
It’s not intentional, nor malicious. It’s a fact. Workplaces DO work better for men. Here are just a few reasons why: 1. Organisations were built by men for men during the Industrial Revolution and have changed little since then. They are shaped like a pyramid, with fewer positions at the top. Positions are won by competing with others and being seen as better than them. 2. Men have an inherent advantage within hierarchical organisational structures because they are better at playing and winning competitions. They know how to: - Brag and self-promote - Communicate as an authority and use direct... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Women can can do it all, just not all at the same time. If you want to be the CEO, claim the spot. If you want kids, factor them in. Then be strategic. Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
If you feel like an outsider at work, or begin to think there's something wrong with you - think again. It's not you. There's something wrong with where you work. Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Australians accept sexism as unruly boyish behaviour. Unless our boy-men mature, our nation won’t and nothing will change for women. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Too many people struggle with decisions about their life and work which are often confused by others' expectations about who we are, who we should be and what we should do. It's time to turn inwards and reconnect with our purpose passion and ability to create a life full of meaning. Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
The article in Sunday’s Herald by Alyssa McDonald cited the same barriers to women’s advancement that have been highlighted for at least the last 15 years. The author quoted the thoughts of credible, if predictable authorities: Liz Broderick, Katie Lahey and others who have advanced into the C-Suites but at least can identify the barriers as: Structural barriers which continue to be: lack of flexibility, inability to gain a promotion if working part time, the expectation to work more than a standard week the further up the hierarchy you go, exorbitant child care costs, and so on. Unconscious bias towards... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Life (work, politics and business) is a competition that women don’t recognise, rarely enjoy, nor play well. Men know it and are good at playing. They know that each interaction is a round in life’s game. They play to win, prepare for the next stoush and if they lose, enjoy a consolation beer with their competitors. Think of the men you know who: Instinctively seek to win an argument – regardless of whether they believe in their case Claim the space at meetings as they compete for the boss’s attention Compete for the biggest ... car, house, or gadget. ‘He... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Every month I facilitate a conversation with a mixed group of professional women who work in a predominantly male environment. Last week, they shared their frustration at Being treated like a highly paid secretary Not being supported by their boss The lack of support they get from their women colleagues They complained that: too often decisions were made around them, they often felt invisible and overlooked and one woman in particular was being paid an enormous amount of money and was ‘bored out of her mind’. There’s no doubt that working in all male environments is tough. However, many women... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Advancing Women for IBM Women of Westpac (WOW) was officially launched on Wednesday 1st June by a panel of women chiefs. Chief Operations Officer of IBM ANZ, Janet Matton, Chief Financial Officer, IBM ANZ, Sara Watts and Chief Information and Operations Officer, Westpac Institutional Banking, Donna Vinci provided the mixed crowd with candid accounts of what it takes to succeed and stay sane in a male dominated world. What they said: Don’t wait to be noticed. Ask for what you want! If you want an overseas assignment, tell someone who can make it happen. Men and women communicate differently. Adapt... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
Why do you think wised up employers love part-time women employees? Yep, you’re focused, productive and make your boss’s life easy. You provide great value for money because you do as much as your full time colleagues for less pay! In fact, you probably do more than your hours allow. You’ve developed a reputation for being a reliable workhorse. In addition, I bet you’re organised, take few breaks, seldom attend training or compromise your hours by socialising. You don’t want to risk losing your part time status so you work hard and deliver great outcomes. That’s all great for your... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2011 at Deborah May's blog
The test to apply before giving anyone feedback, is whether the issue you want to provide feedback about is relevant to an employee’s ability to effectively perform in their role. A client was undecided about whether to give feedback to a team member about the amount of cleavage she exposed at work. Surely, she said, it was not her place to give feedback on a colleague’s dress sense? When asked why she considered it a problem, she said other colleagues and some members of the executive were paying more attention to her cleavage than to what the woman was saying.... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2011 at Deborah May's blog