At our first Justitia Connect event for 2022, we gathered with leading professionals in various industries to participate in an interactive discussion about gender’s intersection with career building. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we welcomed Xara Tran, Sonja Horbelt, and Julia Mason to share their experiences building support networks and forging paths in male dominated industries.

Finding success is exceedingly difficult in industries where women are a significant and obvious minority. As the Founder and CEO of tech company Champions of Change, Xara Tran is familiar with not just surviving, but thriving in male dominated spaces. We discussed statistics from last year which suggest that only 29% of the Australian tech workforce are women, and based on this current trajectory, it would take 66 years for the industry to reach gender parity.[1] When an industry is this heavily gender imbalanced, it becomes evident that there are structural issues at play which prevent women from entering the industry. Gender gaps like these present unique opportunities for female entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions to combat gender inequity.

Julia Mason co-founded EquityJV, where she consults professionals, private investors, boards and decision makers about applying a gender lens to enhance investment opportunities without compromising on social values. The impacts of gender inequity are felt in all spheres of society including commercial economics, which is why financial investing can play a powerful role in affecting social change. Historically gendered spaces, like technology and finance, present unique challenges and opportunities for individuals like our panellists to bring about change.

Throughout our conversation, the words encouragement and community kept resurfacing as we discussed ways to combat inequality of opportunity. As a drummer and composer in the music industry, Sonja Horbelt is no stranger to the gendered obstacles of navigating a career in a predominantly male industry where freelance culture results in a closed loop of opportunities. Change begins with more opportunities for female leadership. By empowering women to move forward and hopefully upwards, we can also encourage a vertical connection between women within the same industry facing similar obstacles, or even, women in different industries facing similar obstacles.

As leading professionals in their fields, these women are creating steppingstones for us all to follow as they work to cultivate a more equitable future. Conversations about gender equity are difficult to initiate and sustain in the workplace, but they are conversations that need to be had. Thank you to our panellists and our Justitia Connect attendees for participating in this valuable discussion. If you would like further information about Justitia Connect, please contact info@justitia.com.au.

By @Elle Henriksen, Legal Research Assistant

[1] https://www.smartcompany.com.au/opinion/women-tech-bro-culture-gender-diversity/