RA leads economic empowerment conversation ahead of IWD

Roads Australia’s (RA) International Women’s Day (IWD) event series has seen more than 1200 transport officials and professionals gather in every state capital city in the nation, with the last of these events to take place in Sydney tomorrow.

The focus of these important national conversation starters at sold-out venues has been to promote the economic empowerment of women with the transport sector in line with the United Nations’ 2024 IWD theme “Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress”.

RA’s IWD event series kicked off in Hobart last week, shortly after the release of new data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. While the data showed progress in the transport sector’s gender pay gap, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Attendees in Hobart heard a keynote address from the CEO of Metro Tasmania, Katie Cooper, who discussed the importance of a diverse and representative transport sector before a panel of industry leaders discussed the initiatives working towards this aim across their respective organisation’s and the sector more broadly.

Following Hobart, the roadshow moved to Perth, with the event headlined by , Minister for Training and Workforce Development, Water, and Industrial Relations, the Hon. Simone McGurk. Minister McGurk provided a government perspective on the importance of representative industries and having women at the decision-making table in parliaments across the nation.

To wrap up the first week, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, the Right Honourable Dr Jane Lomax-Smith entertained the room with an engaging address, expanding on the importance of designing infrastructure with a diverse gender lens. 

Last week, the RA Board also met for the first time following the election of Nicole Green (Transurban), Alison Close (Clayton Utz) and Scott Power (BMD Group). This marked a significant moment in the history of RA. Just 15 months after setting a target to achieve gender parity, the goal has now been achieved, with a 50-50 split of men and women on the RA Board.

RA’s IWD events have continued this week in Brisbane as attendees heard from the CEO of Queensland Rail, Kat Stapleton, who grabbed the attention of the room with her incredible career journey spanning continents and industries from the navy in Canada to telecos in Bahrain to now rail in Queensland, touching on her four career frames of self-belief, sponsorship, situational awareness and support networks. At the heart of all these themes is a sense of resilience and perseverance which has typified Kat’s career to date.

The penultimate event of the week today in Melbourne saw one of RA’s newest Board members, Alison Close moderate a panel discussion of senior private and public sector professionals from across the transport sector talking about tangible steps to attract women to careers in STEM and construction, create pathways for women, make our workplaces more flexible and address the gender pay gap.

With one more event to come in Sydney tomorrow, RA is looking forward to synthesising and sharing insights from a fortnight of powerful discussion around the importance of a more diverse, representative and equitable transport sector.

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