Closing the gender pay gap is crucial to stemming the rising number of women over 55 facing homelessness, according to media personality Lisa Wilkinson.
Speaking at a lunch in the Eatons Hill Grand Ballroom last Friday in celebration of International Women’s Day, Wilkinson said the fastest growing group in the homeless sector was women aged over 55.
“The numbers are horrific,” she said.
“The growing number of homeless women over 55 is a direct result of the gender pay gap and its contribution to superannuation.
Wilkinson said less pay for women translated into less superannuation at retirement age, placing females in a more precarious financial position than men.
“It’s not just about the fairness of equal work for equal pay – when you put together superannuation and a woman’s salary over time (the gap widens further).”
She said she was hopeful that having “more women in positions of real power” would result pay equality.
Mentoring a privilege
More than 350 people attended the lunch, hearing Wilkinson recount her career trajectory from her start at Dolly magazine, where she was promoted to its youngest editor at 21, to her transition to television and her fight to be paid the same as co-host Karl Stefanovic on the Today show.
“The thing that’s given me the greatest satisfaction is the opportunity to work with and encourage new young talent,” she said.
“For me, there’s no greater thrill as a boss than identifying young talent, teaching them the ropes and then watching them fly.”
She said it’s important to challenge yourself, and surround yourself with people who lift you up.
“Just when you’re getting comfortable, stop and recalibrate, step outside your comfort zone.
“Make mistakes, please, please make mistakes because often when you make mistakes that’s when you grow.
“Make sure you have your people.
“Choose your people wisely and it’s ok to edit the people you have in your life.
“It’s a real sign of maturity when you figure ‘I don’t quite think this person is on my team’.
“When you do link arms with other women, it’s extraordinary the force it unleashes.”
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The event was presented by not-for-profit Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism (MBRIT), supported by strategic partner, Moreton Bay Regional Council, major sponsors Dynamic Bradview Roofing Pty Ltd and Any Given Tuesday, and sponsors Sesame Lane Care & Kindergarten, Bishopp, Village Motors Group, Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay, Innovate Moreton Bay, the Comiskey Group and Ausbuild.
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