G8 Education is ensuring female leadership takes centre stage at Board and Exec level
While the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is a female-dominated profession, with 97 per cent of employees identified as women, female representation at executive levels across the sector has not always been a given.
In recognition of International Women’s Day (IWD), marked annually on 8 March, we spoke to G8 Education leadership about how the company is collectively challenging bias and gender stereotypes, acknowledging the 2022 IWD theme “break the bias”.
As one of Australia’s largest providers of ECEC, G8 Education has sought to tackle gender balance head on, with women holding a majority of its Board and Executive leadership team positions.
Eliminating unconscious bias
G8 Education Non-Executive Director Professor Julie Cogin has worked in the Australian education sector for more than 30 years, holding academic leadership positions with RMIT University, the UQ Business School and the Australian Graduate School of Management.
In 2016, she was named as one of Australia’s Women of Influence for her work to address gender imbalance in leadership.
“What I’m most proud of at G8 is our work to eliminate unconscious biases and subtle symbols that can impede women from utilising the abundance of support that is available,” Professor Cogin said, touching on G8’s intention to not limit the focus to diversity in numbers or policy evolutions. Instead, the provider invests deeply to build fundamental values into the culture where women can thrive and realise their potential.
“As an example, when utilising flexible work practices, women often may face negative judgements about their commitment to a team, to a customer or an employer. It’s only when you remove the unconscious biases to go with the strategy that you attract talented women and importantly, retain them.”
Representation and visibility
Amongst a core executive leadership team of ten, six of G8’s team are women, who have influence across domains such as education, finance, legal, marketing, specialised care and people, CEO Gary Carroll explained.
“Culture and leadership is so important to attracting and retaining the most passionate team members to deliver the best experiences for our families,” Mr Carroll said.
“In a sector known for attracting a largely female workforce, our leadership team must have an appropriate gender balance to ensure diversity of perspectives and experiences relevant to our workforce.”
Opportunities for meaningful leadership and progression
G8 Education Chief People and Transformation Officer Tabitha Pearson said cultivating leadership opportunities for women is intrinsic in many aspects of the organisation.
“Our educators and teachers are supported with study pathways programs that are amongst the best in the sector,” Ms Pearson said, noting that G8 will mark IWD by placing a focus on the important role of educators and teachers in creating a gender equal world.
“Through the Early Years Learning Framework, our educators do an exceptional job teaching our children to respond to diversity with respect, challenge gender stereotypes and grow their self-identities with confidence.”
“On this IWD, we are saying thank you to our teachers and educators, knowing that collectively we can and will #BreakTheBias, today and for future generations.”
For more information about early learning careers and study pathways at G8 Education visit the G8 Education careers website, here. Image features Chief Customer Officer Natalie Roach, Head of Early Learning Education Ali Evans and Chief People and Transformation Officer Tabitha Pearson.