CURTIN University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry believes gender diversity is “essential” for the success of any organisation.
Prof Terry, who was last week elected as the new chair of Universities Australia, the representative body for all universities in Australia, said it was important for women in leadership positions to be visible in the community.
She also felt International Women’s Day was a good day to not just take stock of achievements in gender equity, but also make goals moving forward.
Having joined Curtin University in 2014 following 24 years at the University of Queensland, Prof Terry is one of four female university vice-chancellors in Western Australia.
She said gender diversity was vital for the success of organisations of all sizes.
“We know having gender equity on boards and on major committees leads to better organisational outcomes and decision making,” Prof Terry said.
“There’s all sorts of positives that come from having cohorts of leaders that represent the population, and the population as we know is diverse.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the leadership of the local P&C, sporting groups, local and state politics, Federal government, major organisations, not-for-profit.
“It’s essential our young people can see the people in leadership represent society in terms of diversity.”
While she admitted gender equality had come a long way, Prof Terry said International Women’s Day was a good day to simultaneously applaud progress and identity areas for improvement.
“It’s a very important day, it’s certainly something we celebrate each year at Curtin University,” she said, adding it was also a great opportunity for reflection.
“It is a time for us to come together to recognise why it’s such an important day to celebrate what’s been achieved, but also to articulate what else we’re going to do to remove the gaps that still remain.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase what is happening but will also give us cause to reflect on what else we need to be doing as a large institution in WA.”
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