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International Womens Day: Count Her In

We spoke with some of the women across RMIT Online from different teams and backgrounds on what this year's theme means to them.

This year's International Women's Day theme is Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’ exploring how we can accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective. 

Join us as we talk to some incredible women from RMIT Online to explore what managers can do to inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion as we forge a better world in the workplace. 

Sarah Purches, Talent Strategy and Experience Manager  

Filling a role is so much more than just ticking boxes; it's about seeing the real value behind every application, especially when women tend to ask for less than they're worth. Reflecting on my journey with incredible female mentors and leaders who were not just bosses or CEO's; they were trailblazers who knew the power of lifting others up. Their fearless leadership and genuine support taught me that fair hiring isn't just good ethics; it's smart business. It's about levelling the playing field, ensuring everyone, especially women, get the credit and compensation they deserve. I believe in creating a workplace that's as dynamic and inclusive as they come, where respect and equality aren't just buzzwords but the very pillars we stand on. 

Dana Nikanpour, Head of Industry Partnerships  

Implementing affirmative action and cultivating a heightened sense of responsibility among staff is essential for enabling women to make meaningful contributions to the workforce, with managers playing a crucial role in ensuring that women feel both empowered and supported in their place of work. This can look like providing mentorships, helping people to understand their own inherent bias and teaching people how to speak up for themselves and others.  

Additionally, creating a supportive work environment for mothers is paramount, with initiatives like flexible schedules, ongoing professional development during pregnancy and return to work, and generous leave policies. The inclusion of return-to-work bonuses, demonstrated by RMIT Online further emphasises the commitment to gender equality. Ensuring that parental leave and return-to-work schemes are equally accessible and attractive for male staff also contributes significantly to promoting gender parity in the workplace. 

Jennifer Morinaka, Student Success Manager  

The most important thing we can do is create safe, supportive spaces for women across the business we work in. The best leaders who make me feel safe are ones who not only notice when a woman isn’t being heard, but actually take the time to stop conversation, allow her to use her voice, and acknowledge that what she has expressed is valid, valuable, and something to build on. The key to unlocking my own voice started with someone pointing out my own limiting behaviours. When I first started working in Australia, one of my favourite leaders pointed out to me when I was stopping myself from speaking up and told me what physical queues she noticed so that I could pick up on those moments myself. Encouraging women and reminding them that not only are their voices valuable, but that they deserve to be heard is so important in increasing inclusion in the workplace.

This article was originally published on 7 March 2024