A message from Professor Michelle Welsh

Professor Michelle Welsh,
Senior Deputy Dean (Faculty Operations)

Headshot of Professor Michelle Welsh
Professor Michelle Welsh

If we are serious about breaking the bias we must do things differently.  Maintaining the status quo will not break the bias, and will not bring about gender parity.

The World Economic Forum produces an annual Global Gender Gap Report that benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps across four dimensions:

  • Economic participation and opportunity
  • Educational attainment
  • Health and survival
  • Political empowerment

In 2020 the World Economic Forum predicted that it would take 99.5 years to close the gender gap worldwide. In 2021 they predicted that it would take 135 years. The backward step in the last couple of years can be explained largely due the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women.

This is a very pessimistic outlook. My daughters and yet-to-be-born granddaughters won’t be alive in 135 years.  At the current rate, the best I can hope for is that my great, great, great, great granddaughters might live in a world where there is no gender gap.

This is unacceptable. We must do things differently to #breakthebias and thereby reduce the gender gap at a much quicker rate.

When it comes to the entrenched issue of gender inequity, it is important to acknowledge that we have a problem at all levels of society when it comes to women’s  economic and social participation.

As a Business School, we have a vital role in helping influence outcomes for women as leaders; but we must acknowledge that we haven’t always got this right ourselves. In some parts of the School women remain under-represented at a number of academic levels and in leadership roles.

Monash Business School has three staff programs designed to develop leadership aspirations: the Dean’s Future Leaders, Academic Mentoring and the Shadowing programs.

While these programs are open to all, women are particularly encouraged to apply as we strive for gender equity, understanding the vital role that the experience of both being mentored and observing an incumbent in action, can play in encouraging women into leadership roles.

In the academic sphere, we also announced the COVID-19 Disrupted Research Grant Scheme, understanding that the impact of COVID-19 was felt disproportionately by women.

Other initiatives include special grants to help deal with the barriers facing female researchers juggling childcare and work; and inclusive leadership training.

There is always more that can be done to continue to build the capacity of the talented women at Monash Business School. And that is what we are aiming for.