Equal Pay Day 2020

Using ABS labour force data, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has calculated that women must work an additional 59 days a year to earn the same annual salary as men.

Last Friday 28th August was declared Equal Pay Day because it was the 59th day since the end of the 2019/20 financial year.

The national gender pay gap is unchanged from last year and stands at 14%. In some industries, the gender pay gap averages 24.1%.

Using WGEA data, the full-time total remuneration gender pay gap shows that men working full-time earn nearly $26,000 a year more than women working full-time.

$26,000 a year! Who would you rather be?

You can find the WGEA’s insights here: https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/wgea-research/gender-equity-insights-series .

It’s worth noting that gender equality is good for individuals, good for families and good for business. It’s just also the decent thing for workplaces to do.

Women have a role to play too. The WGEA suggests that women should learn to negotiate their salaries and know their value. My Sustainable Negotiation coaching course has been designed specifically for this.

Get in touch in you want more information or to hear some of the success stories.

Calling out abuse

I love this response by US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (aka AOC) to Congressman Ted Yoho, who called her a “f—king b—ch” for doing her job.

He does a non-apology and claims he can’t be sexist because he has a wife and daughters. AOC rejects this and delivers a superb response on the floor of Congress.

I love how calm and measured she is in her delivery, despite the clear emotion. Take a look – it’s a few minutes well spent.

Yoho’s verbal abuse of AOC is classic stereotyping behaviour. A belligerent man is “principled” but a belligerent woman is “neurotic”. A man who cries is having an EQ breakthrough but a woman is hypersensitive (or worse, has PMT). And a determined politician, if male, is a passionate leader but, if female, is a “f—king b—ch”.

We are all complicit in stereotyping. And unfortunately, women can be as judgemental of other women as men can be. I encourage my negotiation coaching clients to monitor how they react to women who have a direct, forthright manner. Do they think those women are pushy? Can they be more accepting of assertive female styles?

According to the UN Human Rights Commission, harmful gender stereotyping is a root cause for discrimination, abuse and violence. Let’s join AOC to stand against it and call it out.

Sexual harassment in the High Court

Dyson Heydon.

It’s an unusual name and one associated with power. As a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Dyson Heydon wielded power in the highest court in the land.

And now the name Dyson Heydon is associated with sexual harassment and a shattered reputation.

If you have seen the press in the past few days, you will know that an independent investigation commissioned by the High Court of Australia has upheld numerous allegations of sexual harassment against the former High Court Justice.

Since then, additional stories of harassment have come to light and it seems Mr Heydon’s reputation for predatory behaviour toward young women was a widely-known secret in legal circles.

What is it about powerful men and the bullying and harassment of younger women?

A study released in March by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, found that workplace sexual harassment occurs in every industry, in every location and at every level in Australian workplaces (see https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/respectwork-sexual-harassment-national-inquiry-report-2020).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, workplaces with a higher risk of sexual harassment are those in male-dominated industries. Of particular interest to me was the finding that workplaces with a higher risk of sexual harassment also include those with fewer women in senior positions.

The report also sets out the impact of sexual harassment on the workplace. Put simply, it is devastating for the victims and enormously costly for business.

We must have zero tolerance for the abuse of power. If it can happen in the upper echelons of society it can happen, and is happening, everywhere.

Dyson Heydon. An unusual name, and perhaps the name needed to start a #metoo movement in legal circles.


Let’s get more women into senior roles so that there are more gender-balanced leadership teams and fewer workplaces in the higher risk categories for sexual harassment.

I have helped women to secure pay rises and promotions by coaching them in negotiation skills. Get in touch if you want to find out more.





Coming of age in a turbulent world

Next week, my beautiful, funny, clever, quirky middle child will become an adult.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the world she is facing at this milestone. She enters adulthood as the world is reeling from a pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout, and as worldwide protests rage about racism and police brutality.

Luckily, the genetic lottery means she will embrace adulthood with privileges many don’t have … she is white, she has a middle class family, she has received an excellent education, she has wonderful friends and she has a happy, supportive home life.

BUT … even with all that privilege, she will face discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions simply because she is a woman. With the Total Remuneration Gender Pay Gap in Australia currently standing at 20.8% (source: https://www.wgea.gov.au/topics/the-gender-pay-gap), her lifetime earnings may be hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men her age. She may also face bullying and discrimination at levels not experienced by her male counterparts.


Last week, I spoke at a webinar about negotiating tips for women and was asked what I thought the future would hold –whether young women will face the discrimination and bias, and specifically the negotiating backlash, that generations before have faced.

I am hopeful that they won’t. I have seen the change in men’s attitudes over time and the growing confidence of young women. I think that Covid-19 isolation arrangements have also probably educated many men about the realities of life at home with small children. This can only help.

And yet, there is a long road to travel before unconscious bias has vanished.

In medicine for instance, there are more women entering medical schools than men, and yet it remains an industry dominated by men. There is some progress with campaigns like Operating with Respect, which was launched by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in 2015 to improve patient safety and counter bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment.

There are also informal campaigns like the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon, which is used to promote diversity in surgery as well as to highlight discriminatory behaviour. The hashtag has been circulating for several years but continues to get dozens of mentions every day on Twitter.

Nonetheless, discrimination remains. Yes, there has been a lot of progress, but the need to highlight and denounce gender, race, and other biases remains necessary.


So, what of my gorgeous girl? Next week, she becomes an adult and she is as ready as she can be. Let’s hope our training institutions, places of work, social norms and personal levels of awareness can treat her fairly. Let’s hope the turbulence and pain in the world at present will lead to a more equitable future for all.


I offer a range of programs to help women and mixed teams improve their negotiation knowledge and skills. This includes one-on-one coaching, pre-conference programs and group training.

All of the programs are based on Sustainable Negotiation™, the approach I developed to move people from avoiding negotiation to engaging with it so that negotiation skills can be incorporated into everyday life.

Get in touch if you want to hear more about the programs and send me a message if you are interested in receiving a copy of my whitepaper, “Negotiation Skills as a Remedy for Gender Bias in Medicine”.

Day of Pink

I discovered by chance this morning that today, 8th of April, is the Day of Pink.

My first thought was of the movie Mean Girls and that iconic line: “on Wednesdays we wear pink”. But no, the Day of Pink is about standing up to bullying and discrimination.

Discrimination takes many shapes, but you may not know that female doctors experience high levels of discrimination and bullying as well as pay gaps in some specialties as high as 50%.

Surveys and reports released by ASMOF NSW show that more than half of female doctors have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace, while male doctors report a fraction of this number. Despite reaching comparable numbers in medical schools, women are also vastly underrepresented in senior medical roles such as deans, CMOs, medical college board members and hospital CEOs.

In my most recent whitepaper, I argue that learning consensus-building negotiation skills can equip female doctors to receive more acknowledgement in the workplace, to negotiate better salaries and working conditions, and neutralise the impact of bullying and hostility.

I also outline a case study where I helped one doctor negotiate a whopping 28% pay rise as well as role and roster changes.

Get in touch if you would like to receive a copy of the whitepaper.


In Praise of Doctors

The 30th of March is National Doctors’ Day in the USA. Australia doesn’t seem to recognise this day widely but right now, amid a pandemic, it’s a bandwagon worth jumping on.

Send a message of thanks to the doctors you know – those on the frontline of Covid-19 and all of the others who are holding up the rest of the health system and keeping us safe.

If you want to hear about the work I am doing with female doctors, get in touch if to receive a copy of my latest whitepaper: “Negotiation Skills as a Remedy for Gender Bias in Medicine”.

International Women’s Day 2020

This International Women’s Day don’t overlook the opportunity to celebrate the women who inspire you.

However, also be sure to take a minute to ponder these statistics from the WGEA and ABS:

  • Just over 47% of all employed people in Australia are women
  • More than a third of women have attained a Bachelor degree or higher qualification compared with 27% of men
  • Nationally, the full-time average weekly ordinary earnings for women are 13.9% less than for men
  • Only 14% of chair positions and 27% of directorships are held by women
  • Only 17% of CEOs are women

I encourage you, both men and women, to use your influence to help improve these figures.

To do my bit, I am offering 20% off my 13-week coaching program for any woman who signs up before the end of March 2020.

Get in touch if you are interested in learning more about my training and coaching programs in Sustainable Negotiation.

I have just published a new whitepaper too: “Negotiation Skills as a Remedy for Gender Bias in Medicine”. Send me a message if you’d like to receive a copy.