An Australian take on International Women’s Day and the events industry

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, here at M&IT we thought it would be a good idea to get an international perspective on women and the event industry.

Australian event and conference management company Arinex has been working with several associations ahead of International Women’s Day, to empower women in their industries through their conferences. The company has implemented measures including gender quotas, parent-friendly conferences and supporting women’s charities to help support women in and around the industry.

It comes after Australia’s National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) re-appointed Arinex to produce its annual awards dinner for the seventh time running. NAWIC’s mission is to champion and empower women in the construction and related industries to reach their full potential.

The Dietitians Association of Australia has introduced a parent room at its national conference and plans to enhance that offer by launching a creche at the next meeting in August this year. DAA rolled out these initiatives so as to include attendees with young children. And delegates have responded by saying it has given them the confidence to attend with their children in tow.

The IEEE International Conference on Radar helped to address the disproportionate number of male engineers by hosting a ‘women and young engineers’ panel session, while also attaining a 50-50 split of women and male keynote speakers.

The Joint International Society for Clinical Biostatistics and Statistical Society of Australia (ISCB ASC) chair Katherine Lee said: “The local organising and scientific programme committees were committed to ensuring a broad representation of statisticians: with respect to gender, race, and subject-matter area, among other no-less-important considerations.

“To help ensure that women were well represented at the conference, the Scientific Programme Committee invited an equal number of male and female keynote speakers. A parent friendly room was introduced as well as a code of conduct, explicitly stating sexual and other forms of harassment or discrimination would not be tolerated. These initiatives ensure a safe and respectful conference environment for all attendees.”

As well as working with its clients to empower women, this financial quarter Arinex staff are helping low-income women gain employment by donating unwanted work clothes to the Dress for Success charity.

Arinex chair and founder Roslyn McLeod said: “Women represent 80 per cent of our company including over half of our senior management team and we always encourage and support one another. We have ways of doing that internally, such as flexible workplace agreements for mothers returning to work, but we’re proud to also work with our clients to support women in their industries.”