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Jane Caro's message to drinks industry: quotas are necessary

Jane Caro's message to drinks industry: quotas are necessary

Reporting by Naomi Kaplan

Jane Caro addressed the drinks association Network Breakfast yesterday with an inspiring speech on ‘diversity in action’.

Caro is an acclaimed social commentator, journalist, author, broadcaster and more.

She initiated her speech with a background on feminism now compared to when she was a young woman trying to succeed the workforce, and how not enough has changed.

Having entered employment under the impression that the invention of the birth control pill had shifted social perception and empowered women, Caro was disappointed by her treatment as an optimistic, intelligent and driven woman in the workforce.

“When I got a job in 1980 as a junior copywriter at an advertising agency, I was almost the only young female copywriter around and I only got that job really because my father was in the advertising and marketing industry and my name was Caro.

“It was lonely. I felt very much that every time I made a mistake, I was judged as a representative of my entire gender. I didn’t only feel that I let myself down, I felt like I’d let my whole gender down. I knew there were people who were saying things like ‘oh you know women, they’re not really up to it, are they?’” 

She noted that not much progress has been made in the decades since then: “People talk a lot, and it’s well intended, but I’m fed up. We need real change.”

That change, according to Caro, starts with quotas and a shift in domestic attitudes such as more male household contribution.

“Why do we faint when we talk about having quotas for women? If we don’t legislate for quotas, then I think we will keep talking. We need a circuit breaker; we need real legislated action,” she said.

Caro then discussed the necessity for shared parental support, and a continuum of superannuation pay to women on maternity leave.

“The government needs to recognize women’s responsibility for caring for small children and taking that time out. This recognition meaning Governments contribute to superannuation during that time. It is not acceptable for women’s decisions to have children to end up with them being poor at the end of their lives. We need to start getting really tough now, because the consequences can be devastating.”

Jennifer Collins, chair of the Women in Drinks council, concluded the breakfast by addressing the need to continue the discussion about diversity in the drinks industry.

Jennifer Collins addressing the Network Breakfast.

“As a board of drinks association, we are really passionate about diversity, and diversity in action.

“Although diversity and inclusion is far more broad than just gender. Gender is the most obvious one that we need to move to correct within the drinks industry.

“We know that as an industry we have a long way to go in terms of our female participation and senior leadership. However, we have signed on from a strategy point of view for 30% female directors. The numbers are growing and we are committed to that growing”, Collins concluded.

The Network Breakfast was a huge success and instigated serious conversation about diversity and inclusion, in all its manifestations.

Click here to watch the video from the event.

Cick here to see more photographs from the event. 




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