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#BreaktheBias and Celebrate International Women’s Day with Greencap – 8 March

04 March 2022

Holly  - Laboratory Manager, Leigh – Principal Consultant & Ben – Team Manager HazMat #breakthebias in Greencap’s Wollongong office

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day has officially been celebrated since 1975, with unofficial events stretching back over 100 years, back to the time of the suffragettes. Initially triggered by key events in history, such as Votes for Women, gender and race equality during the 60s and 70s, and LGBT inclusion in the 80s and 90s, International Women’s Day aims to deconstruct society’s narrow view of women, protect women and children in marginalised countries and communities, and expand women’s ability to contribute to society around the world by removing restrictive barriers to progress, for example in business. 

“I believe because men and women have complementary behaviours, attitudes, and leadership styles, when brought together, there is new perspectives to the job. A diversity of points of view brings new ways of doing things, approaching problems and finding solutions, which in the end benefits everyone,” says Cassandra Fernandez, Senior Consultant Expert Services. 

Undoing hundreds of years of ingrained bias doesn’t happen overnight. To counter this, International Women’s Day works across 7 key parameters: Technology, Work, Forging Change (community level initiatives), Creatives, Empowerment (reducing barriers to pursuing goals), Health and Sport. 

Did you know in Australia, women athletes playing in team sports can make 1/10th or less of what men do? Most women playing in AFL, NRL, and Basketball are making less than $25,000 per year

Theme of 2022 – Break the Bias 

Only 16% of women at University are in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) subjects in Australia. Women and girls are still at a disadvantage and often start falling behind in early high school, this is resulting in a widening gender gap in advanced mathematics

Women are often locked out of these careers as they are frequently starting at a lower rung than their male counterparts, especially if they have children or dependents to care for. 

“As a woman (at Greencap) I feel very well represented at the top level of the business. In comparison to a few years ago, we have a lot more women in positions of power. 

I have had mixed experiences in my working life. Unintentionally, men can still naturally direct the admin work to women, even if that is not her role. In a room full of men, I might be the only women with a high position in the business, and I find I often get spoken across, or left out of the conversation. The discussions and questions when it comes to knowledge or decision making will also get directed to the men. 

Particularly with older generation men, they can be very dismissive. I find I ask myself this question a lot 'If I were a man, would I speak to a woman in the same manner or tone?' 

However, I think the younger generations of men have a different approach. It’s not always perfect, but the world is changing, and women are challenging these issues more and more,” says Ashling, Portfolio Manager. 

“I have and bring value, others may not see it, but I believe it,” she adds.
   

 

Karin  –Laboratory Manager, Naciye – Consultant/Lab Technician, and Mostaq  – Laboratory Technician doing #breakthebias in the Adelaide laboratory

Why is International Women’s Day important?

International Women’s Day is important to challenge preconceptions about women. Even in Australia, a country often seen as somewhat progressive, the inequality of women is a stark contrast. Especially with the largest rising demographic of homeless people, women over 55 who may have quit work to look after their children, and now find themselves without the in-demand skills or experience to re-enter the workplace. This is also exacerbated by divorce rates, and means women do not have the superannuation or retirement savings as men do. 

Reskilling and upskilling women and girls of all ages, races and cultures is integral to create a fairer world in the STEM industries and wider working world in Australia.

Kelly  – Laboratory Manager, Lesa – Lab Technician and Biruh – Lab Technician #BreakTheBias in the Melbourne laboratory

“I have been working in laboratories for over 16 years. I am grateful to have worked with a vast number of awe-inspiring and talented leaders and colleagues, the majority of whom have identified as women. The support, guidance and learnings I have gained from these women has helped to shape me and provide me with confidence in my work and my leadership. 

My experiences at Greencap have allowed me to explore many different avenues and opportunities both inside and outside of the laboratory.

My hope for the future is for all women to experience the same conduct, opportunities and equality as their colleagues, peers and leaders,” says Kelly, Laboratory Manager. 

Challenges for women in the industry 

Cassandra, Senior Consultant - Expert Services helps #breakthebias 

 “I am the only woman on the board of the Asbestos and Hazardous Materials Consultant’s Association (AHCA). It is great to be part of an organisation which was formed to provide opportunities for Asbestos and Hazardous Materials consultants, industry, industry associations, charities, community members and regulators to come together, widen their knowledge and skills to project confidence and consistency through respectful dialogue,” says Cassandra, Senior Consultant Expert Services. 

“The Asbestos (Hazardous Materials Industry) would have been considered at one stage “too dangerous “or otherwise “unsuitable” for a woman. Carrying a ladder with tools and equipment around site in high-visibility clothing, hard-hat and steel-caps was a rarity. 

There are many challenges as a woman licensed asbestos assessor that we face in our role. This could include on-site supervision and being in control of the site’s procedures and practices. When things go wrong, it is always a tough situation to tell a site full of men (usually older and have been doing their trades for longer than you have been alive) to stop work and reassess the practices/procedures used. This is always a challenging, confronting and daunting task to undertake. 

From when I started, 10 years ago, despite these challenges, it seems more women are completing courses in environmental, engineering and construction and a significant industry shift to a more even gender spread is occurring as a result.” 

Opportunities at Greencap

“Greencap is an inclusive, supportive and progressive company that I am proud to work for, I have always felt valued and safeguarded at Greencap,” says Kelly, Laboratory Manager. 

Being an equal opportunity business, whether it is Hazardous Materials, Health and Safety environment, emergency management or Cm3, Greencap’s broad range of services provides clients the advice, support and peace of mind they need to manage their business in a safe and sustainable way.

Greencap are currently hiring for a broad range of roles nationally, please click below if you are interested. 

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Greencap acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.  We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.