“Equality is the foundation of any fair society”
In recognition of Equal Pay Day 2019, we caught up with Sonya Bewick to hear her perspective on the pay equity debate and how best to create a legacy through leadership, as a woman in business management in 2019.
Sonya is the Manager of Innovation and Improvement at My Pathway, leading the way to change through technology and collaboration. As a proud mother of three, Sonya has faced firsthand throughout her career, many of the challenges that the disparity in gender equality and pay equity have created across Australia.
Sonya’s thoughts on...
Women achieving Work Life Balance
I’m lucky because at My Pathway work life balance is actively encouraged. To me, smart organisations already know this.
“They know that to get the best from their most valuable resources, which is us, the Human Resources, they need their staff to thrive, not just survive”.
I believe in order to do that organisations have to encourage and support a focus on people's personal life as well as their work life.
I was at a conference recently where work life balance was a hot topic. The speaker put up a slide that said, RIP- rest in peace work life balance. This really resonated with me, because he made the point that work life balance, in today's world…is a myth.
Before mobile phones, we had complete work life separation and now, we are facing work life integration. It takes a conscious effort to disconnect from work and be present at home and in your personal life. I'm committed to making sure I just disconnect and recharge. I know that in the past, I haven't always achieved this balance well. Now I'm committed to making sure to value my down time, my family are my inspiration, balance means I can keep contributing positively at work and at home.
Career Advancement Opportunities in the Workplace
When asked if being a woman has impacted her career path, Sonya explained that she doesn’t think it has. “I think, through my career, I've had the same opportunities that male colleagues have had, particularly over the past decade. I believe opportunities present themselves every day, but I think it's your personality type that determines if you chose to seize or even better, create them. I don’t often take "no" for an answer. I'm an extrovert, a bit loud and passionately forceful when necessary. Everything I do comes from a place of good intention, this paired with my tenacious nature have contributed to my success in the past.
I'm fortunate to have always worked with organisations that have had women at the highest levels. You know as soon as you walk into an organisation, and see women in leadership, executive and directors’ positions, that you are aligned with the right type of culture. Having said that, I don't think accessibility to executive roles and senior leadership positions for women happened overnight. It takes employers like My Pathway, actively working to promote and create the equality and opportunity."
‘What inspires me in my role as the Manager of Innovation and Improvement is knowing the positive impacts that we can have on people's lives and communities, across all of our programs at My Pathway.’
“I’m proud to be part of an organisation that has been awarded an Employer of Choice, it shows they really take Gender Equality seriously- equality and opportunity in all areas of the business are not limited by gender.”
How Gender Pay Equity impacts women
The superannuation disparity really concerns and impacts me personally. This topic is important to me, because I am a victim of the consequences of taking time off to have my three children.
It's incredibly unfair, that we get penalised. Number one, just for being a woman, which means we don't receive gender pay equality. We have to work an extra 59 days each year to achieve parity, so we're already behind the eight ball, right? And then you take time off to have kids and raise a family, it is impossible to catch up. Even if you go back to full time employment almost right away, it's still not possible.
“In the last 30 years, society has promoted this idea that women can have it all- you can have the job, you can have the great family life, you can have work life balance...but no one tells you there's a massive financial cost that comes with these rights.”
The system assumes that one income households still exist, we are not in the 1950's anymore. One of the things that I would hope for in the near future and would advocate for, is co contribution from men to women to combat the compounding effect that results across the average women's lifetime. If you are in a relationship, or a partnership and you are staying at home to raise children, with your significant other working full time, I 100% believe, they should be co contributing to your personal super.
“I don't think it's right, that I have to sit down and have a conversation with my daughter to say, 'Hey, here's the reality, just because you're female, you'll be paid less for doing the same work'. It's not justifiable. I can't find any argument that makes that fact okay or which supports it.”
I believe that increased awareness and understanding surrounding the issues, particularly from the perspective of those facing the challenges, is the key to changing the future and achieving true gender equality and pay equity.
When asked how she leads the way to change, in her own way, each day, Sonya gave us the 4 Key Factors she believes have inspired her on her journey to achieving and maintaining leadership success
“I read somewhere that if a man reads the selection criteria and he doesn't meet 50% of it, he'll still apply for that job. He’ll learn it later. Whereas a woman reads it and thinks…I don't meet that one or that one or that one, then won’t apply.”
Learn more about the facts surrounding The Gender Pay Gap
On a mobile device? Click here-https://wgea.gov.au/newsroom/latest-news/this-is-why-you-should-care-about-the-gender-pay-gap