One of our key objectives is to foster access to professional development for members, including education and training. Our annual events calendar aims to create a platform for females employed in superannuation and financial services to broaden their knowledge and skills. In 2015 we organised more than 50 events nationally on a wide range of superannuation related topics and themes. We also hosted some fabulous social events, including our famous Christmas lucheons in VIC & NSW. Visit our events page to find out more about our upcoming events nationally,
We are proud to support the development of women and to offer a wide range of national and state-based scholarship programs each year. Our aim is to continually provide and encourage lifelong learning amongst our members. Since 2008, our National Office has offered the bi-annual Fiona Reynolds Global Dialogue Scholarship Program. In 2015, our New South Wales committee launched an inaugural scholarship program in partnership with the Australian Graduate School of Management and Victoria launched a Mavis Robertson professional development scholarship program. To read more about upcoming scholarship opportunities, visit our scholarships page.
Engaging with the Supererannuation industry is key to Women in Super's ethos. Both the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds in March, and the ASFA Conference in November are perfect opportunities for us to collaborate with those in the industry. At CMSF we host the WIS breakfast, networking lunch and have a booth in the exhibition hall. At ASFA we host a networking breakfast. Each event profiles a guest speaker or panel for conference delegates to enjoy. In 2016 we hosted the first WIS breakfast at the ACSI conference. Visit our events page to find out more about our industry conference related events.
As part of our commitment to facilitate networking and engagement of female chair and trustee directors of super funds, we regularly hold female chair and trustee director lunches in Sydney and Melbourne. If you are a female Chair and would like to be involved, we encourage you to contact the Women in Super team.
We are proud of the continuous engagement with female Chair and trustee directors of superannuation boards bringing their insights and experiences to the broader membership base of Women in Super. In conjunction with the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, we offered the inaugural Super Springboard program in 2014 to 20 women working in superannuation with the aim of providing them with the skills to take up board positions on superannuation fund boards. To date, a high percentage of these women have taken up board roles or senior leadership roles within the superannuation industry. Unfortunately, whilst submissions have been submitted to gain funding to run the program, no further funding is available at this time.
If you are interested in being on the board of a not-for-profit superannuation fund, we recommend you check out our founding partner AIST's Trustee Register. This free service is for experienced professionals to register their interest for trustee director positions on not-for-profit superannuation boards.
We continue to be involved in Roundtable initiatives across the country to ensure that gender equality and equal participation for women remains on the agenda. For example, we contributed to the Investor Roundtable initiative, organised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and WIS. This aimed to start engagement with the investment community to ascertain how asset owners and investment teams can contribute to improving women’s workforce participation and gender diversity in the sector. These discussions resulted in the ‘Investment Industry Action on Gender Equality’ paper.
We pride ourselves on giving members the opportunity to build on existing skills and develop new ones, and we look to promote females in the industry. Have you done an interesting report or piece of research? Or do you think you have an interesting experience that other members can learn from? If so, we'd love to hear from you. Register your interest to speak and we will be in touch!
We continue to be involved in a three year research project, 'Ageing Agendas' which seeks to discover the effects of shocks that occur at particular points throughout a working life, and the impacts they have on retirement outcomes. The project is being coordinated by the Centre for Work Life at the University of South Australia under the stewardship of Barbara Pocock. We thank our partners (AIST, HESTA, Cbus and CareSuper) for this project.
The Senate launched an inquiry into the economic security of women in retirement in August 2015. This long-awaited bi-partisan inquiry looked into the structural barriers preventing women from achieving similar levels of super balances at retirement as men. Women in Super appeared before the public hearing held in Adelaide in early October 2015. The Senate also heard from organisations such as the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST), Australian Super, Industry Super Australia (ISA), The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and ANZ. The full Senate inquiry report can be accessed here.
We undertake a number of submissions annually on a wide range of topics including women, workforce participation, superannuation, tax changes and the Federal budget. The direction for our submissions and policy positions is developed and overseen by our Policy Committee and our National WIS Board. We are always seeking new ideas and research to consider in preparation for our submissions. To find out more about our recent submissions, visit our resources portal.
In June 2015, the Indigenous Super Working Group (which includes Women in Super) held the inaugural Indigenous Superannuation Summit to build awareness, stimulate discussion and consider the many issues faced by Indigenous Australians within the superannuation system. More than 80 stakeholder groups attended including representatives from Indigenous organisations, government agencies, banks and superannuation funds.
The focus of the Summit was access to superannuation benefits as well as engagement with Indigenous superannuation consumers. Our objectives were to raise awareness, encourage commitment to working on a small number of projects that will have an impact on outcomes for Indigenous consumers and start an ongoing, informed discussion on the issues. Read a copy of the report and key outcomes from the day.
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) and Women in Super combined to hold the Women’s Super Summit on 18 November 2016, inviting representatives from Government agencies, universities, research organisations, superannuation funds and other key stakeholders to participate. The first Summit took place in 2014, aiming to sharpen the focus and refresh policy priorities to improve retirement outcomes for Australian women who currently retire with just over half the superannuation savings of men. Women's Super Summit reports can be accessed in our resources portal.
Since 2011, Women in Super has organised an annual national speaking tour, the National Road Show, which aims to bring topical and thought provoking presentations to a wide audience around the country. Both women and men attend these events which, in recent years, have included addresses from Fiona Reynolds (Managing Director, Principles for Responsible Investment), Elizabeth Broderick (Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner), Helen Conway (Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency), Professor Barbara Pocock (University of South Australia) and Ged Kearney (President, ACTU).
The National Road Show 2017 speaker will be Executive Director of Impact Strategist and Chair of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing, Rosemary Addis, who will explore what impact investing means for funds and their members. Impact investing in Australia is growing at a fast rate, with funds/investors and members/consumers alike recognising the benefits of this conscious and social approach. In helping to finance solutions to many of the most pressing challenges we face as a society, impact investing is set to change the finance industry dramatically over the coming years.
We were delighted to host Rosie Batty, Australian Domestic Violence Campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year, as our 2016 National Road Show speaker. Rosie has made it her mission to put family violence on the national agenda, raise awareness and ensure those affected are supported in the community and by government. The impacts of family violence on women in Australia are wide ranging and include decreased workforce participation, inability to access financial resources and housing, social disengagement, and increased health and mental illness issues. These impacts can be lifelong.
In 2015 we launched the Domestic Violence Charter which was put together by the Women in Super Domestic Violence Working Group. This Charter reflects the response of Women in Super and the not for profit superannuation industry to address this important issue, and to take a stand against family violence.
Launched in early 2014, our Keep Super Fair website was a resounding success. It achieved its aim of galvanising industry support to retain the low income super contribution (LISC). Identified at the Women’s Summit in January 2014 as the one policy initiative that benefits the most working women (1 in 2 ) and puts equity back into the superannuation taxation system (by automatically putting $500 into the superannuation accounts of workers earning less than $37,000 a year), the LISC was our main focus for 2014. The informative website educated the general public about the importance of the LISC and the reasons why it should not be abolished. Over 28,000 signatures were gathered and almost as many letters were sent to MPs and Senators requesting their support. We were delighted that the Government effectively retained the LISC, albeit renaming it the LISTO (Low Income Tax Offset), in the 2016 budget. We thank all our industry partners for their support in creating, financing and publicising Keep Super Fair. We especially thank Publicity Works as without their creative talent we would not have achieved such a great website.
We founded and continue to organise the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, a walk or run for breast cancer research held annually on the second Sunday of May. This national event has provided the community with a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day and also to support breast cancer research - over $33.2 million has been raised to date. We see the organisation of the Mother’s Day Classic, together with our work in promoting better retirement prospects for women, as a vital investment in the future health of Australian women so they can have a happy and healthy retirement.
To commemorate our Mother's Day Classic and Women in Super founder Mavis Robertson, the Mavis Mile was introduced at the 2015 MDC and adopted at some major events. This was to celebrate Mavis and her contribution to the Mother's Day Classic, and involves placing Mavis inspired 'motivational messages' along the last stretch of the MDC course.
In addition to our Mother's Day Classic fundraising, we also contribute to numerous causes throughout the year. Our 2015 WIS NSW & VIC Christmas functions combined raised over $10,000 for Fitted For Work and The Luke Batty Foundation. As part of our 2016 Christmas events we raised over $8,000 for the Sydney Women’s Foundation and more than $5,000 for the Lighthouse Foundation. At our inaugural 2017 Mavis Robertson International Women's Day Luncheon we raised close to $1,800 for our nominated charity the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We thank all our event attendees for their generous support to these worthy causes.