Thursday 10 Sep 2020
⏰ MELBOURNE TIME
5.00 – 7.00 pm
⏰ LOCAL START TIME
Ms Jenny Smith
General Manager People and Safety, Lochard Energy, Australia
Jenny Smith is a systems psychodynamically trained and orientated professional with experience in OD consultation, executive coaching and leadership development. She holds masters level qualifications in Philosophy and Organisational Dynamics and is currently studying toward a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Jenny works as the GM People and Safety for an Australian energy company and is based in Melbourne, Australia.
Diversity and Inclusion beyond 2020: A psychodynamic examination of the corporate celebration of International Women’s Day
Creating corporations that have greater employee diversity and more inclusive cultures is a significant area of focus and investment in Australia. The movement towards Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is part of a broader move towards judging the value of a corporation by accounting for its total Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) impact – and not just its economic value. D&I has become a significant part of the conversation at the highest levels of corporate Australia and is rapidly changing life inside of corporate organisations.
In recent years, corporations have begun using International Women’s Day (IWD) as a cornerstone event to mark their commitment to D&I. The day is now typically celebrated through expensive corporate breakfasts and lunches. Events attract many hundreds of guests and provide opportunities for attendees to see high profile ‘heroic women’ speakers who’s stories are designed to inspire and uplift.
Throughout the more than 100 years of its existence, IWD has morphed to suit the socio-political reality of the time – from universal suffrage, to socialism, second-wave feminism and internationalism, it has always been adopted as a way of sharing messages and creating social change. Its latest incarnation, however, appears problematic on a number of fronts and is thus worthy of examination.
This paper will briefly examine the history and politics of International Women’s Day before turning to a psychodynamic reading of its celebration in Corporate Australia. Topics for examination include the use of the ‘heroic woman’ as a fetish, a false symbol of achievement and as a distraction from unwanted feelings of guilt and fear of forced reparation. The paper will also posit a way forward and discuss the work that is now required to progress the D&I beyond 2020. This includes embracing the complexity of intersectionality, putting principles of justice front and centre and, finally, being able to have more thoughtful approach to the celebration of IWD.
Small group discussion; impressions of the paper and developing questions for the presenter
Discussion forum with the presenter; moderated for the speaker to elaborate their ideas
Small group activity or discussion ‘What does this paper tell us about working into the future?’
Discussion forum with the presenter; themes from the discussions