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Vic Minister Philip Dalidakis Australia’s first politician to take the Panel Pledge

By | December 7th, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE (From the State Government)

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis tonight took the Panel Pledge to get more female leaders from STEM and business represented in Victoria’s industry panels and conferences.

PledgeIndustryPanelssmThe pledge was made at an event co-hosted by the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA), who also launched the inaugural WLIA Media and Panel Pledge Awards.

The awards will recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations who achieve the greatest impact in their implementation of the Panel Pledge, as well as media professionals who achieve gender balance in their stories.

By taking the Panel Pledge, Mr Dalidakis chooses to only participate in panels and consider government funding for conferences and events that have clear 50/50 gender representation in their speakers.

The WLIA initiated the Panel Pledge in Australia in 2013 to address gender imbalances often seen on panels and at conferences. It was immediately taken up by the Male Champions of Change movement, under the leadership of former Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO.

While women make up 46 per cent of Australia’s workforce, it is estimated that they make up less than 15 per cent of panellists in industry events across the country.

The pledge comes just days after the Andrews Labor Government unveiled Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.

Victoria’s first ever gender equality strategy includes a series of landmark reforms to support women and girls – a Gender Equality Act, gender audits across government and public sector, scholarships to encourage young and emerging women leaders and hosting the first all women trade delegation to China.

The Labor Government has been leading the push for gender diversity in Victoria since it first introduced a requirement for equal representation in all public boardrooms. The average proportion of women on government and public boards now sits at 49 per cent, a considerable jump from 39 per cent just six months ago.

Women experts significantly underrepresented in Australia’s newsprint media

By Women's Leadership Institute Australia | December 7th, 2016

Carol-PanelPledgeNew research from the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) shows that women are significantly underrepresented as sources and experts in the Australian newsprint media, with female sources representing just 21 per cent of all commentary.

The Women for Media Report 2016 analysed over 6000 articles across six major print publications – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph – between 1 February to 21 February 2016.

The report was launched this evening at an event at Parliament House with The Hon. Philip Dalidakis, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. The event was co-hosted by WLIA and the Minister to promote the importance of gender balance in the media and on panels.

Key findings include:

  • Women account for just 21 per cent of sources directly quoted in news articles
  • The Australian Financial Review (AFR) (15 per cent) and The Australian (16 per cent) featured the lowest proportion of women directly quoted
  • The Herald Sun (28 per cent) and The Daily Telegraph (30 per cent) featured the highest proportion of women directly quoted
  • Women were least quoted in articles on business (13 per cent) and finance (14 per cent), whilst they were quoted most in articles on health (41 per cent), education (39 per cent), and social issues (39 per cent)
  • Overall, female journalists quoted female sources in greater numbers than their male counterparts (27 per cent to 17 per cent, respectively)
  • Male sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to the ‘ASX’, ‘profits’, ‘China’, ‘tax reform’, and ‘investors’
  • Female sources were most frequently quoted on topics relating to ‘children’, ‘China’, ‘foreign policy’, ‘murder’, and ‘Nauru’
  • Overall 21 per cent of opinion editorials on politics were written by women. Of this, just five per cent were written by female ‘guest’ authors – those not employed as journalists or regular columnists by the publishing newspaper

WLIA’s Founding Chair, Carol Schwartz AM said, “There is no shortage of highly qualified women available to speak across all news topics. Our newspapers and media coverage should reflect the diversity of Australian society, its leaders and its consumers.”

“Not only is it more interesting to hear a diverse range of views but studies show that gender balance gets the best outcomes. Our public discourse is all the poorer for it when women’s voices aren’t heard,” said Schwartz.

WLIA’s Executive Director, Amy Mullins said: “Traditionally, men have often been seen as the ‘authority’ on topics in the media, particularly in business, finance and politics. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way towards shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of what a leader looks like.”

“Women make up 50 per cent of the population and our news coverage should reflect that,” said Mullins.

“We have seen recent successes in the broadcast media with the Mornings with Jon Faine show on 774 ABC Melbourne achieving gender balance in its guests. They have shown that it can be done, but it needs to be seen as business-critical, with strategies put in place to achieve it,” said Mullins.”

“Gender balanced news coverage creates visible role models for both men and women to look to,” said Mullins. 

Other findings

  • All publications featured relatively low levels of female representation in business news – female sources quoted in business articles ranged from 11 per cent in The Australian to 23 per cent in The Daily Telegraph
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘CEO’, ‘Founder’, ‘Executive Director’, or ‘Managing Director’, just 14 per cent were female
  • Where a source’s position contained the words, ‘Analyst’, ‘Economist’ or ‘Strategist’, just nine per cent were female

About the Report

The Women for Media Report 2016 is an extensive analysis of the gender balance of sources and experts quoted in the Australian print media over a three-week period, from 1 February 2016 to 21 February 2016. The ‘opinion’ sections of the same publications were analysed over the full month of February 2016.

The Women for Media Report 2016 is unique in its breadth and depth of gender analysis for both news and opinion articles in the Australian newsprint media.

Over 6000 articles were analysed across six major Australian newsprint publications from February 2016 – The Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph.

The research encompasses all articles from the general news, business and related news, finance news, and ‘opinion’ sections of each newspaper. This excludes designated arts, lifestyle, entertainment, sport, and world sections, as well as magazines and lift-outs.

About Women for Media

Women for Media ( is an online database and network of Australia’s top female leaders in business, finance, the not-for-profit sector and government. It provides journalists and conference organisers with direct access to the contacts of leaders available to speak, in order to reduce barriers to achieving gender diversity of sources and experts.

WLIA works with Faine show to achieve equal media airtime for women

By | October 31st, 2016

Our Executive Director, Amy Mullins, spoke to Jon Faine on the ‘secret project’ which was undertaken by ‘Mornings with Jon Faine’ Producers Dan Ziffer and Harriet Lonnborn (with a little help from WLIA) to ensure women get equal airtime.

The show went from featuring 33% female voices per week, to 50% female voices just three months later.

WLIA applauds Ziffer and Lonnborn for the great achievements they have made – showing that achieving gender balance is possible when there is commitment and action from those in a position of leadership and influence.

Further coverage on the project:

The Age, Our secret project to give women equal media airtime

ABC News, Faine show reveals secret project to give women equal airtime

The secret project to give women equal media airtime

By Daniel Ziffer | October 25th, 2016

This article was originally published in The Age on 25 October, 2016.

zifferThere aren’t enough female voices in the media – as presenters, as experts, as people considered newsworthy.

We started a secret project to fix it.

Concerned about the small number of female voices on-air, as hosts, regular guests and callers, I contacted Amy Mullins from the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, an organisation trying to fix the gender imbalance in visible and significant positions.

The WLIA website allows you to directly contact over 200 women executives, leaders and thinkers across a broad range of industries and disciplines. These women have put their hand up to speak in the media and on conference panels.

Producer Harriet Lonnborn and I met Mullins, who detailed some of the ways that women are excluded from the national conversation: quoted less frequently in the news, writing only a fraction of the opinion pieces printed in newspapers (yes, I am aware this isn’t helping) and appearing less frequently on TV and radio as experts.

Running the ”Mornings with Jon Faine” radio program we decided to do what we could in our tiny corner of the media world to change things.

We’d never really counted what the gender ratio of our guests was, so we set ourselves the obvious target of 50 per cent of female guests on-air.

Easy, we thought.

The first day was … terrible. We had just one female voice out of 11 guests. That’s 9 per cent.

The first week was 33 per cent overall – the same ratio as the months before we started our project.

It didn’t take long to work out why: we’re starting every day behind.

Our host is male. Of our long-standing regular weekly guests, just six of 15 are female. Their fill-ins are pretty much the same ratio.

Of the popular irregular guests, the Premier, Opposition Leader, Lord Mayor, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the heads of the public transport system, road network and emergency services all are male.

So for other experts we used the institute’s website, contacts at universities and our most useful tool: pleading.

A consistent issue was the propensity of capable, storied women to defer our enquiries to similarly-qualified men. Chief executives suggested their chair would be a better spokesperson, doctors with decades of experience would say they were unqualified to talk about a sector of their specialty

Mullins explains that this reticence isn’t about a lack of belief.

“Research shows it’s just not the case that women are less confident in themselves than men,” she said. “They are however, less confident that others will recognise and be receptive to their capabilities – and in the context of media – that they’ll be seen as credible or expert sources.”

A further issue is that seeing women in expert positions is still, astonishingly, a surprise.

“We are quite used to seeing men as an ‘authority’ on topics in the media, but less so for women. Elevating women’s voices in the media will go a long way to shifting traditional gender norms and expectations of how women, and men, should act. And that has positive effects for everyone,” Mullins adds.

It’s a long road, but one worth jogging down.

Next time you’re stopped at the lights, peering down the road at a bus stop or avoiding old magazines in a waiting room, look around.

What you’ll see is modern Australia: an amazing and harmonious mix of men and women from here and around the world. According to the last census, more than a quarter of Australians are born overseas, and another 20 per cent on top of that have a parent born overseas.

Few media organisations are hitting the mark on representing our community to the degree they should, so any steps to improve that will help.

Our project to get more female voices on air was just a start.

We were able to add exciting new voices across the broad range of fields we cover and our show now better represents the community it serves.

We want everyone to be a part of the conversation and in a recent week, just three months after we started, 50 per cent of our voices were female.

You know, like society.

Daniel Ziffer is senior producer, Mornings with Jon Faine, 774 ABC Melbourne. These are his personal views.


Further coverage on the project here.

Categories: Women for Media

WLIA’s Schwartz and Mullins featured on GAZELLA

By Gazella | November 22nd, 2015

Professional background…

AM: I started out working in communications, primarily in advertising and social media. I was writing a blog about politics and promoting that on Twitter, which is where I met Carol. I have always been passionate about women in leadership and gender diversity, so it seems like the two passion areas collided with this role. I came on board to run the Women for Media initiative and am now the Executive Director. I look after all of our activities and have been spearheading some new initiatives with Carol around improving women’s visibility and challenging norms and stereotypes around what a leader looks like.

CS: I started off life as a lawyer and quickly decided that I didn’t want to practice law. I opened a couple of new businesses, did some small property developments with a girlfriend who was an interior designer and then joined a family business in property where I worked for almost two decades. Whilst I was doing that, I became involved with the Property Council. I was Victorian President and then I became National President.

WLIA-gazellaWomen for Media initiative…

AM: There are currently over 170 female leaders from the sectors of business, finance, not-for-profit and government involved in the Women for Media database. Members of the initiative are generally CEO’s, Chairs, non executive directors, and people in the C-suite. It’s basically a go-to place for journalists and event organisers to find female leaders for an interview, or a panel. We’re trying to break down the barriers between journalists and female leaders to ensure they’ve got instant access to each other in order to develop strong relationships. Hopefully one day we’ll become redundant because people have created ongoing connections through the database and have been inspired to contact each other on their own initiative.

CS: It’s actually a key issue for us, because it’s all about role modelling. If you open up the Financial Review you wouldn’t be too surprised to think there are no women in corporate Australia. Not only in the property sector but in all aspects of that corporate world. It’s a subliminal reinforcement of stereotypes and as women we are all affected. Interestingly enough, it also affects one’s confidence and courage. One doesn’t put oneself forward if you’re not seeing anyone else do it. There’s too much exceptionalism around the role of women. There may be one or two women who appear constantly, but the other women look at them and say, “Well, they’re the exception,” and the guys look at it and say “Well, they’re the only two women that exist.” There’s this constant subliminal reinforcement around what the roles of women are.

Property Male Champions of Change…

CS: Culture is difficult to change as we all know. I think the Property Council’s Male Champions of Change has been a fantastic initiative. It’s exposed both Amy and myself to the goodwill and commitment of the men at the top of this industry, to change the status quo. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the initiative and the forcefulness with which the male industry leaders are really approaching this.

AM: We’re excited. Initially it was great to have the discussions about where everyone is starting from and listening and learning on the issue of gender diversity and women in leadership. Now the group has formulated action plans which has got people really enthused and invigorated because they can see that there is movement.  There is a genuine commitment to taking action individually and collectively as well as holding themselves and each other to account.

CS: It’s really interesting to see the cohort actually self regulate around what is acceptable and what isn’t. It’s been terrific. Without a doubt positioning yourself within the action on this is a competitive business advantage. If you have a look at the really bright young women coming out of various courses, why wouldn’t you want to have them working in your organisation? You’re missing out on fifty percent of the talent pool by not recruiting from the pool of women.

AM: I think retention of employees is one of the biggest talent issues and comes down to cultural factors; the company culture needs to be one that values diversity and inclusion. You have to be able to look around and see diversity, not only at your level but higher up. To see that there is actually a career trajectory and that you are likely to be promoted on talent and potential.

On quotas…

CS: Bring them on. We’ve been talking about self-regulation and targets for a long time. I have no doubt that there are very talented women out there who are just not being given the opportunity. My view is that if we brought in quotas as a temporary measure and changed the culture through a paradigm shift so that we immediately placed the women in these roles; we’d adapt. They’d perform just as well as the men do. Women need to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside men in equal numbers. There was some recent research out of Norway that showed if there aren’t quotas, you don’t get that paradigm shift. I’m very interested to see what’s going to happen out of the Male Champions of Change initiatives. My feeling is that if there is no movement and the men see there is no movement, then they’re the ones who are going to be calling for quotas. If they can’t get that change to happen organically then they’re the ones who are going to say, “Let’s bring in quotas as a temporary measure, and let’s see where we are in five years time.”


AM: I’m inspired by people who have a strong set of beliefs and values that are guided by equality of opportunity and those who then go out and take action on it. That’s what I’m driven by and what I aim for in all that I do.

CS: I think that I can take something out of everyone I meet. You can never predict who you’re going to learn from and what insight you’re going to get from a conversation you have. I think that I have multiple influences, constantly. Interestingly enough, for someone of my age, it’s very, very important to stay close to the generation below us and the generation below that. To expose ourselves to the way they’re thinking. We have such entrenched social problems. When I look at people of my generation, who have been around for a while trying to solve these issues, we rack our brains as to how we are going to do it, yet when I talk to somebody in their twenties, they potentially have a whole new way of looking at the issue. An innovative way of approaching it and perhaps not the skepticism, or cynicism, that you invariably develop as you get older.

Advice for young professionals…

AM: Make the most of every opportunity. I’ve never said “no” to something relevant to my ambitions or interests. That’s how I got to where I am now. I was confident and just said, “Yes’, I’d love to!” So don’t let fear get in the way. Who knows what new ideas and directions could eventuate from the opportunities that come your way.

CS: As a follow on to that, my advice would be to be courageous and don’t be modest. If you’re not going to talk about your achievements, then nobody else is going to. I know that some women find that very difficult, but you’ve got to do it. It’s the way we are socialised; it’s not ladylike… you can’t beat your boyfriend at table tennis, boys don’t like to be beaten by girls. It’s ingrained at a young age.

My mother always told me…

AM: …to “always do your best, you can’t expect any more of yourself than that.” It puts things into perspective and re-frames any challenge.

I tell my daughters…

CS: …to buy shares in companies if they want to change the way those companies operate. Go along to the AGM and if you have any questions to ask, you stand up and ask them. Ask them the questions; “Where are the women? Where are the women on the executive team? Where are the women on your board? What is your policy about women in leadership?” That is the only way that change is going to happen. At the end of the day, it’s the exercise of financial power which is going to make corporate Australia stand up and listen.


We met this powerhouse pair at a Management Club dinner at the Lyceum Club a few months ago. Carol was the keynote speaker and had us both enthralled with her passion and powerful voice. She spoke about the amazing work that she was doing with Amy and so we approached the pair for an interview. We finally met at their phenomenal office on Flinders Lane. Both these women have everything so spot on. Their words cannot fail to resonate with women in any profession. Their call for accountability and activity, is so crucial if we are to continue to inspire the next generation of professional women and bring balance to leadership in Australia. We hope that this interview brought you a slice of their brilliance. 
To view the original post, click here.

How to use the Women for Media database

By Women For Media | July 1st, 2015

The Women for Media database is located on this website at
















For information and guidance on how to use Women for Media, please download the following PDF guide: How to use Women for Media

Categories: Women for Media