Call for Turnbull to focus on gender diversity

Business leaders have called upon the new prime minister to take steps to improve gender diversity.

Call for Turnbull to focus on gender diversity

Tony Abbott’s departure from his position of prime minister has been welcomed as a prime opportunity to improve the government’s focus on women.

Fairfax Media reported that Diane Smith-Gander, chair of Transfield, called for reforms on critical issues including women’s participation rates in the economy and the retirement savings gap for women.

“What we want is a broadly based tax reform [for example] but with a special women's lens to consider workforce participation, retirement income equity and also childcare,” she said.

She added that Turnbull should also take action to improve the gender balance on government agencies and advisory bodies.

Smith-Gander noted the current members of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.

“It is ten men and two women – it should be 50-50,” she said.

Turnbull should also support Independent senator Nick Xenophon's bill to mandate a minimum 40% quota for women on government boards, according to Smith-Gander.
“It is so obviously doable,” she insisted.

Business leaders around Australia have reportedly expressed the same sentiment: that Turnbull’s appointment will spell a new starting point for women in cabinet.

“I am confident we will now see a stronger voice for women in a Turnbull cabinet," said Deborah Page, chairman of Investa Office Fund.
She also praised Liberal Party MPs for making a “tough decision”.

“Perhaps now we will also see leadership on issues such as the critical need for a comprehensive childcare framework to support today's employment environment,” she added.

Rebecca McGrath, director at JP Morgan and CSR, said there were enough talented women in Australia for the PM to appoint more female members to cabinet.

“I would like to see some more gender diversity,” said McGrath. “I'm optimistic we will get some talented women to come through into more senior roles, but we will see.”


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