@avrilhenry Time for reflection is very important for our mental, physical and emotional well-being, and our ability to... https://t.co/FvPNmLpuOa
Avril Henry

Avril Henry

Time for reflection is very important for our mental, physical and emotional well-being, and our ability to engage in self-care. I think it is indicative of our “busyness” that the number one workers compensation claims today are stress related, rather than physical injuries. Stress is also the most significant contributor to ill health. And yet we work harder and harder, much of which is driven by fear of loss of security through loss of employment. Yes, things are challenging economically in Australia and around the world, however, I believe there is too much fear-mongering and negativity, which simply compounds many irrational fears.

As a nation, this month we will unite for the celebration and remembrance of Anzac Day and those who have died for the freedom of this great country in which we live.  A past federal Treasurer speaking on Anzac Day a few years ago said Australian ideals had been both tested and proved at Gallipoli.  Further, he said: “What emerged was a moral value that rapidly established itself as our supreme national virtue: a combination of bravery, resilience, the ability to improvise, and the duty to stick together in hard times and protect your friends.” 

As someone who has lived my adult life in Australia, and who regards herself as a very patriotic Australian, these words resonated with me about what it means to be Australian – brave, resilient, adaptable, sticking together, looking after your mates, persevering , courageous and reaching out to our community!

Six key tips to be bold for gender equality change without fear of losing your job

If women are not willing to be bold, nothing will change. Given the glacial pace of change for women in the workplace, including politics, at the current rate of change it will be over 100 years before we have gender equality in leadership roles, and it is projected that it will be over 300 years before we have pay equity! A working woman will earn $1 Million less than her male peers, and will retire with over 50% less in superannuation than men. Women need to be bold, fearless, and above all relinquish the desire to be all things to all people, in order to change things for themselves and other women!

I have just returned from a 4-day visit to Hong Kong where yet again I was starkly reminded of how technology is controlling a significant part of our daily lives, both professionally and personally.

As we sat at dinner in a Michelin star Chinese restaurant, with beautiful surroundings, classical music, exceptional service and delicious food, I noticed with frustration and sadness that at every table, except the one occupied by myself and my two friends,  people were on their mobile phones, either texting or on social media.

I asked a number of Gen Y female entrepreneurs on social media the following two questions:

  1. What are your top 3 issues for the election?

  2. Are you engaged, disengaged or disillusioned with the current election campaign? Why?

“It is better to remain quiet and be thought of a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt”

Anonymous

Most of us don’t actually listen, we simply hear. This means that we comprehend less than 50% of every verbal conversation we have, so much of the message is either forgotten or lost. Many of us practice the art of “half an ear” or “stunned mullet” listening. We are so busy these days that I believe our capacity and willingness to truly listen has diminished significantly in the last two decades. I truly believe that the greatest gift you can give anyone – your team members, peers, clients, partners, children and friends is to actively listen with intent, and to be truly 100% present.

Yes, that is correct – we need quotas for men! As we approach yet another International Women’s Day, and face questions such as:

  • “When is International Men’s Day?” to which I usually respond with: “The other 364 days of the year!”
  • “Should we have targets, or quotas?”
  • “Won’t quotas result in reverse discrimination against men?”
  • “Aren’t we risking not selecting people based on merit if we have quotas?”
  • “Aren’t most women themselves against quotas?”

I have always found it both perplexing and amusing that the people who have the most to say about feminism, misogyny, sexual harassment and gender discrimination are people who have NEVER experienced it – often men! And they tell you to: “Lighten up and get over it.” I am hugely in favour of experiential learning where you are introduced to the experience in a controlled environment, and have an insight (not the real thing) into what it may feel like.

Over the past few months the media has been flooded with stories of corruption, bad behaviour and a complete lack of integrity in sport, politics and business! What must young people think when they look to supposed role models of leadership? I know what they are thinking because they tell me. Generation Y and now Generation Z (born 1996 – 2010) see no people in politics and business who they want to emulate, and now they are beginning to lose confidence in sports heroes too. And why wouldn’t they. What they are seeing is not what they would like to become as leaders themselves!

Congratulations to David Morrison on being named Australian of the Year 2016. Many have seen this as a great choice given David’s public commitment to gender equality, even being called an "equality warrior", while others in the media (and probably quietly in private conversations) have said it was a "politically correct" decision. I disagree with the latter. I know that David Morrison does care deeply about wounded soldiers; those suffering from PTSD; he loves the soldiers, male and female; and can care about all these things simultaneously. He does not have to choose one over the other, unlike the suggestion by a journalist in one of today’s papers.

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