The World Economic Forum predicts that none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, nor likely will many of our children. The Global Gender Gap Report 2020 reveals that gender parity will not be attained for 99.5 years.

In light of these sobering findings, it is more important than ever to take action. The International Women’s Day 2020 campaign encourages us to be #EachForEqual. To actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. To fight for gender equal boardrooms, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, and more gender equality in health and wealth.

At GPJ, we know that equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies, organisations and communities to thrive. The 2020 theme – Each for Equal – is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism.’ This aligns with our own focus on being One GPJ. We are all part of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets have an impact on our community and the larger society. Collectively, at GPJ, we are confident that we can make change happen.

This year, we strengthened our senior leadership team with two new appointments and three promotions.

Underscoring our commitment to diversity and gender equality, the new appointments mean women now hold five of twelve senior leadership team roles. We asked our female leaders that comprise our SLT what International Women’s Day means to them:

Kim Gerard, Head of Production: “International Women’s Day to me is a time for both reflection, appreciation and celebration. While women have come a long way over the last 100 years, we still have a lot of work to do around gender equality. I’m so thankful that throughout my life and career I have had strong women around me. From my grandmothers through to mentors and leaders – they have supported, guided and inspired me to be the woman and leader I am today. This year I’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day as one of five women in a leadership team of twelve and I’m really looking forward to us celebrating and honouring the wonderfully diverse and inspiring women in our business.”

Jess Quiney, Head of Strategy: “I believe that there is no better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to support strong women. Since 1908, IWD has seen women from all walks of life and all backgrounds demanding equality. And we are not there yet. International Women’s Day is a day to remember those who have come before us, those who stand beside us and those who will continue this movement after us. We are not alone. In my new position on the senior leadership team, I am committed to working with all the women around me to create an equal, enabled world.”

Caroline Arnold, Director of Integrated Services: “I am privileged to be working alongside inspirational women; on a leadership team that’s 40% female; within a creative, progressive company that celebrates diversity. However, International Women’s Day is a day for reflection – so, how far have we come? In Australia, we only have 23% of women in government; only 36.3% of women are in C-level positions. Women around the world face discrimination and violence. 29% of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 15, globally that’s 12m girls; 830 maternal deaths occur each day globally from the lack of access to women’s health; 1/3 of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In Australia, that represents 1 in 6 women that have at least one incident of violence from a spouse. Today – to cite my younger colleagues – I will “check my privilege” and humbly ask myself what I need to do to take action.”

Jacquelyn Cowardin, Head of Audience Acquisition: “Let’s not celebrate today, let’s educate and find our own place in history. There is so much more work societally, politically, professionally that needs to be accomplished for women of all colours to be held equal to their opposites. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign in some ways exemplified the challenges women face in so many aspects of life: They often have to work harder and gather more credentials to even attempt to reach the same heights as men, and even then, there’s no guarantee of success. The original suffragettes over 100 years ago fought for the right that, once a woman had won it, “would secure her to all others.” Equal rights. Equal power. Equal pay. Equal balance. There’s so much more work to do.”

Sara Hill, Client Services Director: “For me it is a reminder of what so many women have endured to get us to where we are today! Progress can sometimes feel painstakingly slow, but each year we have more and more to celebrate. IWD is also a day to mobilise and activate as we focus on the many areas where women everywhere still face inequality and injustice. I am grateful to be working as part of a leadership team that supports diversity and inclusion. The GPJ women are an inspiring courageous bunch who push boundaries and support one another, I am thankful to be part of it. I also believe IWD is about leading by example, being a positive role model for my daughter and other women. Knowing that I am equal, and there is no glass ceiling that I need to contend with. Finding my inner strength, confidence and courage to be who I am. I want to see all women succeed and surpass all their hopes and dreams, not ever feel that they are not enough to do and be who they want to be. I love the words of Brene Brown: “Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.” Be kind. Be supportive. Be amazing ladies!

To mark International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to celebrate the amazing women in our GPJ community.

Our staff nominated the women who inspire us daily to embrace our strengths, push boundaries and create an equal world. These wonderful women are:

Megan Abela is “fearless, determined, compassionate and an inspiring colleague”. She is “shaping up to be a woman to watch! Megan is an amazing all-rounder, and a pleasure to work with.”

Steph Bradshaw is “incredible at her job!” She has a “kind, calm and nurturing attitude. Always willing to help others, totally committed to her craft, her colleagues and helping people to be the best they can be” and “anyone who can balance motherhood with what she whips out at work is next level amazing.”

Alayne Taylor is “a kick arse EP who can do anything thrown at her. She’s one of the best in the industry and it’s amazing how she doesn’t let anything faze her. An inspiration to the Production team.”

Ceara Fox is “a strong woman with an enormous heart. Ceara’s faced tough times with a smile, and still been concerned for others. Ceara’s navigates balancing work, life and family priorities whilst keeping all of us in check with a determined and steadying hand.”

Kayla-Maree Hancock is “very productive and just knows how to get stuff done right and on time!”

“If you’ve seen her dance on tables, you know Kate Russell is someone we could all learn from! Seriously though, she’s excellent at mentoring and fostering the best out of people.”

Thank you to all the wonderful women who represent GPJ. We hope you celebrated International Women’s Day individually, proud of who we are and how far we’ve come, and confident to continue moving forwards, together.