12 Feb, 2019 Last updated: 27 Feb, 2019

Business leaders and global experts will come together today to tackle the persistent challenge of gender inequality and how to move from talking about the issue to enacting change.

Leading the VicHealth symposium, will be global gender equality expert and behavioural economist Professor Iris Bohnet, who will be joined by a range of leaders including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in sharing what works when it comes to ensure women get the same opportunities as their male counterparts.

The symposium kicks off a week of talks and events featuring Professor Bohnet as part of her three-year role as VicHealth’s Leading Thinker.

Despite some progress, gender equality continues to stall in Australia with women still underrepresented in leadership and management roles, taking on more unpaid household and caring responsibilities and earning 15% less than men.

Professor Bohnet said she was excited to meet with leaders from across the state to talk about how behavioural design could create fairer workplaces, homes and societies.

“Behavioural design, or using persuasive techniques to change human behaviour, will not solve all our gender-related problems, but it will move the needle, and often at low cost and high speed,” Professor Bohnet said.

“The challenge, and opportunity, we all have now is precisely this: how can we convert good intention into meaningful action that will better support the next generation of men and women?

“We want to support organisations across the state to pave a new way forward for advancing what works and advancing a new future for men and women.”

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said it was important not to put gender inequality in the too hard basket as an unsolvable problem.

“We have an opportunity to make gender equality a reality. While there’s been immense change in my lifetime there’s still so far to go,” Ms Rechter said.

“Most of us know that gender equality is fair and right but how do we get there in the face of backlash and opposition?

“It’s fantastic having Professor Bohnet in Melbourne this week to look at what practical things we can all be doing to accelerate change.”

VicHealth’s Behavioural Insights and Gender Equality Symposium is on today at Melbourne’s RACV Club from 1pm. The event can be streamed by registering online.

VicHealth’s Leading Thinker initiative connects international thought leaders with senior policymakers and key local experts to develop innovative solutions to complex health promotion issues, in this case, gender equality. Professor Iris Bohnet and Dr Jeni Klugman are sharing the VicHealth Leading Thinkers on Behavioural Insights and Gender Equality three-year residency 2016–19.

Media Contact:

Rachel Murphy, VicHealth Senior Media Advisor on 03 9667 1319, 0435 761 732 or  [email protected]