The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) is concerned about the absence of women’s voices in public discourse, particularly at events involving the financial services industry. We think this lack of diversity inhibits the quality of the discussion and perpetuates stereotypes which preclude women from senior positions. This is detrimental to the interests of long-term investors.
As a consequence, ACSI has taken the Panel Pledge. This means that we are committed to ensuring that events we participate in, organise or are associated with are gender balanced. This includes conferences, panels and seminars, among others. We will not participate in events which are not inclusive and do not embrace gender diversity. This commitment applies to all ACSI staff in their capacity as employees.
Specifically, when we are invited to participate in an event, we will:
- Request confirmation that there will be a gender balance among speakers before accepting the invitation.
- Request confirmation that different genders will have the opportunity to participate meaningfully.
- Decline to participate in events which do not have a gender balance.
- Reserve the right to withdraw from events which do not achieve a gender balance (even at the last minute).
- If we become aware that a gender balance has not been achieved despite the organiser’s best efforts, publicly highlight the importance of improving gender diversity at future events. However, we will not participate in an all-male panel under any circumstances.
When ACSI is organising an event, we will:
- Ensure a gender balance among speakers.
- Ensure that different genders have equal opportunities to participate meaningfully.
- If only one speaker is required, ensure that gender diversity is achieved on subsequent occasions (i.e. recurring events).
By taking the Panel Pledge, ACSI hopes that more events will reflect the breadth of perspectives and experiences available to us and not limit the conversation to a segment of the existing talent.
Sample response to event invitations
Thank you for your invitation to speak at [name of event]. ACSI has taken the Panel Pledge and will only participate in events which are gender diverse and inclusive. Before accepting your invitation, I’ll need some additional information to determine whether this event is consistent with our commitment.
Can you please confirm the following:
- Will there be a gender balance among speakers at this event?
- Will speaking roles be allocated equitably among genders?
If I agree to participate in this event, I reserve the right to withdraw later should I become aware there will not be a gender balance among speakers. Thanks in advance for your support of our efforts to promote gender diversity