International Women’s Day is a global movement, giving people around the world an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and rally for gender parity.
Each year Internal Women’s Day has a theme, highlighting a particular challenge, achievement or cause. The theme for 2022 is ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ with the tag line #BreakTheBias, putting the spotlight on the conscious and unconscious bias women face socially, economically, culturally, and politically.
MOVE Bank is an organisation which is led by a team full of accomplished women, with our CEO Therese Turner and Chair Bron Davies acting as strong female role models. We turned to our team to talk to them about what International Women’s Day means to them, what messages they want to share with young women, and how MOVE Bank helps #BreakTheBias.
What challenges, or privileges, do women stereotypically face based on their gender?
“While women still face many challenges on a day to day basis, I feel so lucky to be a woman. When I look at the strong ladies in my life, I am deeply inspired. It’s not our challenges, but how we overcome them that matters” – Kate, Administration Officer
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
“The most important message is to believe in yourself and your own abilities. In the continuous pursuit for perfection or a need to prove ourselves, it is easy to get lost, start second guessing and even doubt our own abilities. If you want people to respect you and recognise what you have achieved, then it is important to regularly reflect on your own personal achievements and success. Being open to feedback and continuous learning is also crucial to help you constantly evolve as a person and remain match fit in your career. Surrounding yourself with supportive mentors is also valuable, particularly in the early stages of your career. “ – Therese, CEO
“I’d definitely advocate for young women to follow areas that they feel connected to, or passionate about rather than just areas or subjects that they ‘are good at’. If you’re not sure what ‘that thing’ is right now – that’s OK. People entering the workforce in the next 10 years are expected to have on average 18 jobs across six careers in their lifetime. All jobs will provide you with valuable learning opportunities and skills that can be transferable to your next role, company, or career.” – Nikki, Chief People Officer
“I genuinely believe we can do anything we set our minds to. I think it’s really important that we surround ourselves with people who believe in us and challenge us to succeed. It won’t always be easy or go as planned, but that’s when we regroup, take stock of what we could have done differently, and we have the courage to try again. That’s the key I think, courage, being able to say I failed but I will try again, and I will succeed.” – Taryn, Chief Credit Officer
What do you think people can do today to ensure gender equality for future generations?
“Gender justice needs to be promoted in daily life. There should be an equal division of labour in each home. All adults living in the same home should take responsibility for the household chores and children’s care. Providing more support for women who is suffering from domestic violence and other abuse. Addressing to girls early that they are strong, capable and deserving of the same respect.” – Sapphire, Finance Officer
“Change doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, if people take small actions everyday it results in meaningful and lasting change. We can tear down barriers to equality by calling out when we see bias and creating an environment of equal opportunity.” – Kaity, Marketing Specialist
How do you think MOVE Bank helps Break The Bias for women in the workforce, particularly the financial services industry?
“MOVE Bank has always been very supportive of females in senior roles and understands the importance of gender balance in management and governance roles. Over the past 20 years, MOVE Bank has been led by three female CEOs, and currently has a female chair. Our executive team also represents a gender balance with 57% of positions held by women. Representation of female executives in the financial services industry however is a long way from being balanced. There are some positive signs however that things are changing, particularly in the customer-owned banking sector where 16.7% of mutual banks and credit unions are led by female CEOs.” – Therese, CEO
“Working in the finance sector, you can often find yourself in spaces that are very male dominated. At MOVE it’s refreshing to see women in so many leadership positions and working across such a broad range of roles. In mutual banking specifically, women are vastly unrepresented in CEO roles, and I consider myself lucky to get to work with and learn from Therese.” – Kaity, Marketing Specialist
“I’m a Mum to two neurodiverse boys and without the flexibility of being able to drop my kids at school two days a week I could never have juggled my busy leadership role with my busy role as a Mum. I’m eternally grateful that MOVE Bank was so supportive of this request (well before COVID made flexible work ‘the norm’) and in turn, it has made me a more committed, loyal employee and a better leader for the business.” – Nikki, Chief People Officer
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
“Say yes to opportunities that are presented, or even better speak up and ask for opportunities to learn and grow. If you’re not sure if you have all the skills you might need for that new role? – say yes anyway. Not sure you’re ready to step up? – say yes anyway – learn grow and adapt on the job.” – Nikki, Chief People Officer
“Speak up when you see something that isn’t right, and never let someone dismiss your right to a seat at the table.” – Kaity, Marketing Specialist
What do you think is the most significant challenge to female leadership?
“The (sometimes self-imposed) belief that women should ‘do it all’ and ‘have it all’. Many women in their careers will be juggling work, family and maintaining their own sense of self, and it is a juggle at times, made all the more challenging this past few years with COVID and the complexities of remote work and remote learning. My recommendation to working Mums and future female leaders would be, be honest with yourself and your workplace about what you need in both areas of your life and find a business that will work with you to balance work and home and family life.” – Nikki, Chief People Officer
“Work life balance. I returned to full time work not long after my daughter was born, and my husband had a job that saw him travel interstate a lot. At the time it was an expectation that I would work long hours, and this was difficult when I had no family around to help and a child that needed to be picked up from after school care. I felt for a long time like I was either failing my work or my family. In reality I should have been able to successfully have had both. I think the narrative around this is changing but we still need to make improvements if we want to see more women in leadership roles.” – Taryn, Chief Credit Officer
Whilst International Women’s Day is an excellent opportunity to highlight how far women’s rights have come, it is also a platform to recognise how far we have left to go.
One of our team members shared her experience as a victim of domestic violence, and the importance of educating women that domestic violence isn’t just physical, but can also be verbal, mental and financial, “It took me two years until I realised I was a victim, because I always thought it was about physical violence only.”
She highlighted the damaging misconception that abusive relationships are only those in which women experience physical violence, “I believe most women from developing countries like me will never know that they are in an abusive relationship until they can’t bear it anymore, and someone has to tell them.”
On International Women’s Day we remember that as long as one woman faces discrimination, harassment, inequality or oppression, we all do.
We are proud to have a team full of strong women here at MOVE Bank and want to take this moment to thank them for the role they have played in growing and shaping our organisation. Let’s work today, and everyday, to #BreakTheBias.