In Australia, the '2019 Women for Media Report' estimated that only 30% of panelists are women - despite there being no shortage of qualified women.
To improve this statistic, and bring about equal representation of all genders, the Panel Pledge initiative was developed in partnership with The Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, Chief Executive Women and the Male Champions of Change. This Pledge seeks to promote the importance of diversity at any public forum, and highlight that the absence of qualified women speakers at any event not only limits perspectives, but perpetuates a lack of diversity and restricts the overall quality of the conversation.
Western Sydney University is passionate about promoting gender equality in all areas, and this Pledge provides an opportunity to take another positive step forward in supporting equality in a practical and achievable manner. Not providing qualified women the opportunity to be considered to present at conferences and sit on panels, inhibits their opportunity for recognition, experience and profile-building.
University staff are encouraged to sign up and take the Western Panel Pledge. In signing the Pledge you can play an active part in the continued progression towards gender equality, and help improve the balance of gender diversity across public panels, conferences, presentations, workshops and other events.
Upholding the pledge
When invited to present at a public forum, you are agreeing in a practical way to the following:
Commit to the Panel Pledge
- When you are invited to speak at or participate in a public forum or event, let the organisers know you have taken the Pledge. Request confirmation of who the other panelists/speakers/participants are and how gender diversity has been considered. Reserve the right to withdraw from an event in the instance gender diversity is not addressed either through actions taken to improve gender diversity, or the achievement of gender balance.
- Ensure that all professional forums organised or sponsored by your School or Business Unit take gender diversity of speakers into account from the commencement of any planning processes.
Highlight Gender Balance
- If you see a panel where gender balance is not apparent, point it out to the event organiser. Encourage them to achieve diversity in their speaker and panel members.
- When speaking at an event where gender balance has not been achieved, even after significant effort has been made, acknowledge the issue as part of your presentation, and encourage open discussion between participants about inclusive practice and how to improve gender balance in the future.
Actively encourage women's voices
- Use your networks to link women to speaking opportunities.
- When a gap is identified, put forward alternative presenters or panel members to facilitate organisers meeting gender balance, wherever possible and appropriate.
Perservere - Don't accept excuses
- There will always be comments or excuses made as to why women are not speaking at or included on panels, but persevere. Encourage gender diversity wherever possible and keep the conversation going in the right direction to facilitate the positive change needed to reach gender equality.
For further information about the Western Panel Pledge, please contact:
Katie Hayes, Senior Project Officer| Equity and Diversity
Yes, I will sign up!
By signing up to the Western Sydney University Panel Pledge you are making a commitment to acknowledge the importance of gender diversity when speaking at or coordinating any internal or external public forums. You are publicly committing to implement and uphold the ideals outlined above, and will seek to lead by example in demonstrating and supporting equitable and inclusive practice and contributing to the open conversation about gender equality.
Please complete the below form. Once submitted, a welcome pack including a Lapel Pin and some helpful resources will be sent to you.
Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).
By clicking submit, you have signed up to the Western Panel Pledge and agree to have your Name, Title and School/Institute/Division listed on the Western Panel Pledge Signatories web page.