Sydney has won a global bid to host the “Davos” of women after it was backed by leading business and political leaders who want to showcase Australia as a nation striving for gender equality.
The Global Summit of Women event will be held in Sydney next year. It is expected to attract more than 1000 business and government leaders from 80 countries, and inject more than $2 million into the NSW economy.
Sydney has won a global bid to host the ‘Davos of women’ after it was backed by leading business and political leaders. Video provided.
Key business leaders that helped pitched to win Business Events Sydney’s bid to host the event include former Telstra boss David Thodey, non-executive director of AGL Energy and Wesfarmers Diane Smith-Gander, retiring Sydney Airport boss Kerrie Mather, former director of Lend Lease Lynette Mayne and former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.
The bid was also backed by political figures including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wife and former Committee for Sydney chairwoman Lucy Turnbull, Liberal National Party MP Keith Pitt, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, and federal labor MPs Tanya Plibersek and Linda Burney and NSW MP Pru Goward.
“We believe equality for the women of Australia is a national priority,” Mr Shorten and Ms Plibersek said in a joint letter. “The march of women through the institutions of power will define the future of our economy and the future of our society.”
Ms Turnbull, who is also ambassador of Our Watch, an organisation aimed at preventing violence against women and their children, said while more Australian employers were taking action to improve gender diversity “there is still much work to be done”.
She said hosting the event would “elevate these issues, and provide a much-needed forum dedicated to discussing women’s economic opportunities and equality”.
Business Events Sydney chief executive Lyn Lewis-Smith said that the summit will showcase strategies from around the world aimed at addressing bias against women.
“Hosting events like the Global Summit of Women could be a catalyst for greater economic empowerment of Australian women by shining a spotlight onto underperforming areas and eliciting tangible commitments from our leaders to change the status quo,” she said.
A recent report by EY found that tapping into women’s global potential could be the equivalent of having another 1 billion people in business and the workforce.
EY’s report, Women the Next Emerging Market, states that over the next decade the impact of women on the global economy will be equivalent to that of China and India combined.
Executive chairwoman of Carnival Australia Ann Sherry, who also advocated on behalf of Australia’s bid, said: “World leaders can learn from Australia, but we in turn, still have much to learn from the rest of the world.”
Ms Sherry pointed to the Male Champions of Change program and advocacy organisations such as Chief Executive Women as initiatives Australia could proudly promote.
Former West Australian premier Richard Court, who is now Australia’s ambassador to Japan, welcomed the announcement.
Ex-Telstra boss David Thodey said: “We proactively advocate for improved gender diversity within large organisations and we look forward to sharing our passion for this issue at the summit.”
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