Women in Media Conference

There were a lot of memorable messages at the recent (and I hope first of many) Women in Media Conference, held at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

We’ve come a long way since the best Caroline Jones first Four Corners’ colleagues could come up with was along the lines of “she smells nice” when asked about having a woman on the team but we’ve still got a long way to go.

  • Virginia Trioli: Keep a “Save Your Arse” file, one that shows you have more than met the requirements of your role, delivered, and helped your team so that come time to negotiate a payrise or promotion, it’s all ready.
  • Claire Bradley: Look after yourself on the way.
  • Anita Jacoby: Learn to say “no” in a matter-of-fact way.
  • Sandra Sully: We need to speak up, find our voice and make it happen.
  • Alison Monroe: The gender pay gap in media is 23%, the national average is 16%.
  • Sandra Sully: You need to constantly work on your skillset because the world is constantly changing.
  • Nassim Khadem: Be diverse (skills, expertise and ability) but have a niche (a topic that’s your own).

However, one of the most memorable moments, for me at least, came from the Men In Media panel when the admonition to “just go for it” heard throughout the day was given a concrete example of why that’s so important for women.

Foxtel’s Peter Tonagh told a story of how the number of female applicants responding to job ads was increased, all by changing the wording. The original ads asked “Are you in the Top 5%?” and had a limited number of female applicants. Turns out, if women read that, they would think, “oh, I’m only in the top 6%, so it’s not for me”. Men on the other hand, read something like that and immediately think “I’m in the top 50%, close enough” and put in their application.

There was a repeated message from the women in every panel session, whether they were talking about how they started out, how they advanced their careers, how they dealt with difficult situations: stand up, lean in, know when to lean out, recognise and reject imposter syndrome and value your worth.

Sounds like good (if tough) advice

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