AUSTRALIAN men and women need to change their assumptions about women and work before true equality in the workplace can happen, author and editor Catherine Fox told a crowd of about 70 in Gympie yesterday.
Ms Fox was guest speaker at a breakfast meeting at the RSL hosted by the Australian Institute of Management and the Gympie Women in Business network.
She is the former deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review Boss Magazine and the author of recently published 7 Myths About Women and Work.
Her book examines the harmful assumptions made about women in the workplace and why dismantling these ideas will help forge a better workplace for everyone.
An appreciative but predominantly female Gympie audience heard that some of those "harmful assumptions" were deeply embedded ideas and stereotypes such as "women don't want the best jobs" and "women just want to have children".
Ms Fox said the notion that workplaces in Australia were "meritocracies" was a myth.
Of the top 200 listed companies in this country only 3% of CEOs are women. Most executive managers are white men of a certain age.
Australian men, on average, earn 17.4% more than women.
In Queensland that gender pay gap is wider and increasing.
Eighteen months ago Queensland men earned 19.1% more than women, but the most recent data has the pay gap at 21.4%.
Ms Fox said the solution was not for women to act more like men.
Strong role models and setting quotas for women in leadership roles and high ranking positions did help.
Women in the workplace
- Women make up 47% of paid workers in Australia
- Women account for 60% of undergraduate degrees
- One year after leaving university women are paid, on average, $2000 less than men
- The gender pay gap in Australia is 17.4%
- The gender pay gap in Queensland is 21.4%