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:, 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.


Australia’s gender equality scorecard

The latest results from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency have been released today. You can view them here:

In good news, the gender pay gap is moving in the right direction. However, with a drop of only 0.5 percentage points, the national average gap of 20.8% will take decades to close.

On average, men out-earn women by more than $25k per annum and, in some industries, the gender pay gap has taken a backward step. Most notable is the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, where the gap has increased in 2018-19 by 1.2%.

I have a proven track-record in helping women negotiate higher salaries, promotions and different working conditions. Get in touch if you’d like to hear more.

[Un]Equal Pay Day

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.

Today, Wednesday 28th August, has been declared [Un]Equal Pay Day because it is the 59th day since the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

While the national gender pay gap has reached its lowest level in 20 years, at 14% it is still far too high. The WGEA has a range of suggestions for closing the gap, including the advice that women should learn to negotiate their salary 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.

Gender Equity in the Workplace

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency, in conjunction with the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre, has today released its latest report on gender equity in the workplace.

While there are clear indications that women are gaining ground, there is still a way to go. Here are some of the key points from the report:

  • The highest-paid 10% of women in key management roles make $160k less annually than the highest-paid men ($599k cf $436k), equivalent to 27.1%.
  • The lowest paid 10% of women in management roles make $14k less than the lowest paid men in similar positions ($72k cf $58k), equivalent to 19.5%.
  • At current rates, the projected timeframe for women to reach equal representation in executive level positions is 2047.

Improving these statistics requires employer-led action and accountability by boards and employers. For the individual women affected, few skills will have as much impact as learning how to negotiate.

If you need help with this, get in touch to find out more about my 13 week one-on-one coaching course, Sustainable Negotiation … How women can negotiate more out of work and life without burning bridges.