01 Mar, 2017 Last updated: 01 Mar, 2017

Letter-to-editor from VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter

First published in the Bendigo Advertiser on 1 March 2017.

2017 signals a huge year for change for women in Australia, but it’s only the beginning. Jerril Rechter

The work to change individuals’ attitudes and perceptions is underway but we need more than words to address ingrained gender inequality which still exists in Australian society.

For example the national gender pay gap. The difference between women’s and men’s average weekly pay is currently 16%, and alarmingly, closing that gap globally is estimated to take as long as 170 years.

Sadly, all too often the only thing holding a talented, intelligent and capable woman back is the fear of how she’ll be perceived by her boss, her colleagues, her family, her friends; or the fear of challenging traditional ideas of the work women and men ‘should’ do. 

I am one of only 17 per cent of Australian CEOs who are women. I strongly believe in gender equality, and I put this to practice every day at VicHealth. The good news is, I’m not alone.

In a recent VicHealth survey, 85% of Victorians thought it was very important that employers provide ‘an environment in which women and men are respected equally.’ 

Everyone can make a contribution to building gender equality. We’re all responsible for taking action to help women advance, in Victoria and across the world. 

Join VicHealth and get behind International Women’s Day 2017 - #BeBoldForChange 

- Jerril 

Jerril Rechter is CEO of VicHealth