Gender equality in spotlight at MBA WA Women in Building and Construction lunch

Bankwest chief operating officer Shari Cosgriff (left), Master Builders Board member Isla McRobbie, Curtin MHR Julie Bishop, CEOs for Gender Equity executive director Tania Cecconi, Cbus Super Fund strategic manager Kirsten Beck and Master Builders apprentice of the year Aly Harper at the lunch
Bankwest chief operating officer Shari Cosgriff (left), Master Builders Board member Isla McRobbie, Curtin MHR Julie Bishop, CEOs for Gender Equity executive director Tania Cecconi, Cbus Super Fund strategic manager Kirsten Beck and Master Builders apprentice of the year Aly Harper at the lunch

CURTIN MHR Julie Bishop says successful women should judge their impact by whether they have made it easier for others to follow.

Speaking at the Master Builder’s WA Women in Building and Construction lunch at The Westin last Friday, Ms Bishop noted her successor in the role was another woman, Senator Marise Payne.

“If we are to achieve gender equality, we need to ensure we not only break the glass ceiling but help others follow through,” Ms Bishop said.

“I have always believed men and women bring vastly different perspectives in their world view.

“Women are more transformational. Men are more transactional. Research shows the transformational approach builds greater morale and longer-term productivity.

“Why would you not want more women in business to bring these things to the table?

“Nations, organisations and entities would be better served in using these abilities.”

Curtin MHR Julie Bishop addresses the crowd.

She said while serving as Foreign Minister, she set the challenge for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to work harder to find qualified women and achieved targets of 50 per cent of women on its boards.

Both Ms Bishop and Bankwest chief operating officer Shari Cosgriff referred to “industrial deafness” among men in their speeches at the event. They said women struggled to have their views heard and acknowledged by male colleagues.

Government, banking and the building industry were all areas where women had historically been under-represented and Ms Cosgriff used data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to highlight the disparity in earnings between men and women in construction.

“WGEA’s gender equality scorecard, released just last week, shows there are almost 125,000 people working in construction full time across the country, 83 per cent of whom are men,” she said.

“And the report shows these men earn over a quarter more than their female counterparts. But research has shown that when employers take a proactive position and conduct a pay gap audit, things change for the better.”

Bankwest chief operating officer Shari Cosgriff speaks at the Master Builder’s WA Women in Building and Construction lunch.