Several icons passionately championed public sector women last night at one of Melbourne’s most celebrated annual events, the IPAA Victoria International Women’s Day Gala Dinner.
Over 1200 guests at the sold out event celebrated the achievements of women across the public sector. They were entertained and challenged by a stellar panel featuring the Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams, broadcaster and comedian Libbi Gorr, former Australian Olympic Committee CEO Fiona de Jong, veteran journalist George Negus and well known news presenter Jennifer Hansen.
IPPA Victoria President Kym Peake gave a stirring speech highlighting the significance of International Women’s Day and its relevance to women in the public sector, drawing attention to significant historic changes such as the removal of the marriage bar in 1966, where women in the public sector were forced to resign when married. The IPAA Victoria president also highlighted the achievements of past female advocates, calling on the younger generation to carry the torch.
George Negus, who brought a wealth of journalistic experience to the panel, reflected on the changes in gender equality within the media.
“It’s instructive for the IPAA Victoria International Women’s Day panel to be discussing this on International Women's Day, because it’s important to recognise that change can happen and has always been happening, whether in the media or anywhere else — but nothing like at the almost overwhelming pace of the last thirty years,” Mr Negus said.
“The last thirty years have been so different. Changes we cannot imagine like climate change, Donald Trump, mass migration and of course, the clearly long overdue, Me Too movement.”
Former AOC CEO and Secretary General Fiona de Jong, who now works as Head of Australia’s Nation Brand at Austrade, said International Women’s Day was a chance to shine the light on the great progress that’s been made for women as well as to agitate for the reforms needed to forge a more gender equal Australia.
“The IPAA Victoria Gala Dinner is an active demonstration of the public sector’s commitment to access one hundred per cent of Australia’s workforce talent,” Ms de Jong said.
Issues discussed at the Gala included cultural change within organisations, political leadership, violence against women and the Me Too movement, with questions from the audience.
CEO of IPAA Victoria, David Ali, said the IPAA Victoria International Women’s Day Gala Dinner was significant in underscoring the organisation’s values of gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the public sector.
“IPAA Victoria aims to promote the equality of women in the public sector, and we join in celebrating, advocating and championing their achievements,” Mr Ali said.
“IPAA Victoria constantly works to champion, support and advocate for the public purpose sector through professional development opportunities such as programs, events and initiatives, including its Advancing Women in the Public Sector Framework.”
More photos to come shortly!