Gender Balance - Back your position with Data

Conrad Liveris released his Gender Equality at Work 2018 exploring the gender pay gap, sexual harassment and female education.

  1. There are more ‘Andrews’ leading ASX 200 companies than women CEO’s

  2. Female representation on ASX200 boards is at it’s highest level of 26.6%

  3. Women tend to run support functions 70% HR, 46% General Counsel, men hold 90% of business unit roles. 41 major companies have no women in executive management.

If you want to highlight a need for change first start with the facts.

The fact that in Australia we have only 12 Women CEO’s in the Australian Stock Exchange top 200 companies was the hook that got me started on this project. I then became aware of the research showing that companies with gender balance have better performing share prices. So there is compelling evidence for change. Despite the fact that female graduates outnumber males at record levels they can still expect to earn less than their male counterparts.

To champion change you will have to build a case. If you want to be able to quote the statistics of interest in your area have a look at these excellent resources.

Morgan Stanley’s research showing that gender balance is directly related to higher share prices -

Chief Executive Women take a census of women CEO’s and

many easy to read factual papers on women executive numbers and actions for change


Leading the Pack

A great thing about painting on site is the reactions of people passing by. The staff loved Marnie’s portrait. One women said “It makes me feel so proud.” Her organisations’ leader has been chosen to stand alongside Australia’s leading women and as a staffer she holds her head up with pride because of it. Marnie talks of coming from a dairy farm in Cohuna Victoria to let others know “Anyone can do it.” This raises a really important point about leadership.

CIndy Hook CEO of Deloitte Asia Pacific said to me that throughout her career she had been asked to do interviews as the first woman partner in the firm to achieve X, she said no, because she wanted to stand on her performance not have her achievements questioned because gender could have played a part. Now however, she realises she was wrong. Cindy now understands that standing up to take that leading role helps others, gives them role models, lets them know we can do it.

Dame Elizabeth Murdoch also learned this lesson after a lifetime of giving anonymously she could see that she had to go public in order to lead and encourage others to give.

In My family this is also a lesson. My Papa was the only man to win three Magarey Medals in a row (SA Football). Catholic’s were heavily discriminated against at that time. but I have met his peers who told me that when Papa was accepted and welcomed by every level of society - it changed their lives. They held their heads up high. He was playing footy, not being political in any way, but the result of giving his best and winning was shared by many.

AT the Bendigo Adelaide Bank Painting Marnie Baker the Managing Director

AT the Bendigo Adelaide Bank Painting Marnie Baker the Managing Director


Breaking through to the front of the pack takes a lot of consistent hard work and excellent performance. It can be hard to step up and take the lead, but as pack animals we need leaders. Remember to acknowledge those who stand up to lead.

In the Beginning ...

It was raining and I scored a lift home with Rob McGuirk from our friend Glenda Lindsay’s memorial service and after we had talked about the life of our inspiring friend he asked me, “What’s your next project?”.  My exhibition Keys To Our Country - portraits celebrating Aboriginal Australians who bring their culture into their work, was hanging at Deloitte in Melbourne (and still is) and going well, so the next project was brewing.  I explained gender balance was really important to me and I was thinking of painting women CEO’s to highlight the statistical fact that there are so few.  Rob, immediately thought of the Rotary Women’s breakfast and putting me in touch with it’s organiser Kerry Kornhauser and we started talking about likely candidates and ideas.  From a whim, to a spark, to excitement.

Ideas are just shells until life is breathed into them.  When you have friends who also love ideas, are doers, take risks to make things they believe in happen, it gets easier and more fun.  Glenda was one such person, so it is fitting that the idea for Leading Women’s Profile got going while thinking of her.

Later I explained to Kerry and Rob that I wanted to use the portraits to raise funds and as Kerry was associated with Bridge of Hope and I have years of experience volunteering in the homelessness space, it seemed a good fit.

This created the link between the most powerful and most vulnerable women, all experiencing greater challenges due to their gender. Twenty years as a communication facilitator means I like to have an impact, to inspire others to action and to get better outcomes. It is the same with my artwork.

The Herald Sun article from September 2018 explaining that the ASX200 had only 11 women CEO’s was a great statistic to get started with.  I began sending out invitations and getting the wheels turning.

The women CEO’s I have met so far have just been stand out lovely people.  Georgette Nicholas was the first to say yes and one yes means ‘it’s on’ so I am grateful for her open hearted commitment.  Each portrait will be painted against a blue sky, signifying endless possibilities. The paintings will be part of the Women in Rotary International Women’s Day Breakfast on March 7, 2019 and then go to Deloitte Melbourne to be exhibited at their client Centre at 550 Bourke St.  The portraits will be sold for $3000 to support Bridge of Hope’s - Bridging the Gap program that helps youth coming out of child protection and state care get on their feet.

Dedication - Marlene McAuliffe

I want to take this opportunity to explain who this exhibition is dedicated to and why.  Marlene McAuliffe was the best of friends to me for over 30 yrs, enfolding me into her family.  Marlene died in 2017.  She was a person who valued friendship; who listened; who was curious and loved beauty; who made each person she spoke to feel important and cherished; who made friends into family.  Those of us who new her know that we were lucky, that our lives are richer for it and always will be.

Marlene's spirit embodies what this exhibition is about. Being curious, seeking beauty, being willing to learn, to cherish and to welcome.