Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Leading men to champion workplace gender equality

Some of Victoria’s most influential male corporate, government and community leaders are joining forces to advance gender equality and more women into leadership positions.

The group of 20 men, convened by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins, will work together on innovative approaches to help ensure women can thrive equally in our communities and workplaces.

Announcing the Male Champions of Change initiative for Victorian-based leaders, Ms Jenkins said the group is drawn from a wide range of fields including business, government, industry, the media, law enforcement, health and education

“These men are strong leaders in their fields. Together, they head organisations that employ millions of people and make a major economic, social and cultural contribution to our state, across Australia and in many cases internationally,’’ Ms Jenkins said.

“They are committed to making a similar leadership contribution to gender equality, because it’s the right thing to do and because it makes business sense.

“Decades after equal pay for women and the introduction of anti-discrimination laws, women are still disadvantaged. They earn less, are more likely to face discrimination, are under-represented in key sectors of our economy and are less likely to hold senior positions.

“The pace of change has been too slow. Breakthrough strategies and breakthrough leadership are required. This must involve those who hold the power to create that change. I commend these men for stepping up to that challenge. ”

In joining Male Champions of Change, the men have agreed to play a leading role to redress the gender imbalance. They will share their experiences, engage women and men within their organisations, commit to concrete actions, report on progress and share the outcomes they achieve.

The Victorian initiative is inspired by the successful Male Champions of Change founded in 2010 by the federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.

Luke Sayers, CEO, PwC Australia and Vice Chairman, PwC Asia, said he was pleased to be a founding member of the group.

“This group aims to achieve faster progress of women’s representation at senior levels,” Mr Sayers said.

“This will happen when male leaders step up as leaders, create accountability and disrupt the status quo in their respective organisations. As we do this together, we can then learn from each other and make substantial change.”

Ms Jenkins said she had been overwhelmed by the strong response from the men invited to join the group.

Founding members are:

  • John Cain, former Premier of Victoria
  • Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne
  • Chris Eccles, Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director & Group CEO, Australia Post
  • James Fazzino, CEO, Incitec Pivot
  • Adam Fennessy, Secretary, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Tony Frencham, Managing Director, Dow Chemical
  • Gareth Goodier, CEO, Melbourne Health
  • Peter Hay, Chair, Newcrest Mining
  • Doug Hilton, Director, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Damon Johnston, Editor, The Herald Sun
  • Brian Kruger, CEO, Toll Group
  • Ken Lay, former Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police
  • Gillon McLachlan, CEO, AFL
  • Chris Maxwell, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal
  • George Savvides, Managing Director, Medibank Private
  • Luke Sayers, CEO, PwC Australia
  • Steven Sewell, CEO, Federation Centres
  • Ian Silk, CEO, Australian Super
  • Andrew Thorburn, CEO, NAB
  • Clément Michel, CEO, Yarra Trams
  • Rowen Craigie, CEO and Managing Director, Crown Resorts
  • Ben Rimmer, CEO, City of Melbourne

Visit the Male Champions of Change website at or keep up to date with the Victorian Male Champions of Change project.