Filling the Pool Starts Early - Latest Research

Dr. Terrance Fitzsimmons, lead researcher of Filling the Pool and Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland Business School, will be presenting the Committee's latest FACTBase Bulletin on gender equality.

The genesis of the Hand's Up for Gender Equality report were findings from the Filling the Pool study, which showed that women's relative lack of confidence was playing a significant role in limiting their career progress. Past research has shown that women's confidence, relative to men's, declines from nine years of age through to their mid-seventies, where confidence levels once again become equal.

Many reasons for this disparity have been put forward, including the gendered organisational structures, societal expectations and the relative lack of leadership role models for women. These factors have not been previously tested however, anecdotal evidence suggests that the factors which give rise to the relative disparity in self-confidence starting in late childhood and early adolescence, and continuing into adulthood, may not be present in girls who attend single sex schools.

The Hand's Up for Gender Equality report, which surveyed 10,000+ boys and girls in high matriculation, single sex schools, found this to be true. Boys and girls, at least in this environment, showed equal levels of self-confidence. Nonetheless, stereotypes between career interests of boys and girls remain gendered in year seven and these views remain unchanged through to the end of high school. The study offers some insights into why these stereotypes may persist, even where confidence levels are the same between boys and girls.

After the keynote address, there will be a Q&A panel session with experts from leading organisations making significant progress in gender equality. They will reflect on the research and discuss how they are actively making a change.

We hope you can join us to help advance this important conversation.

Meet our speakers and panellists

Dr. Terrance Fitzsimmons Image
Dr. Terrance Fitzsimmons

Senior Lecturer in Leadership, University of Queensland Business School; Director,  AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace; Managing Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC)

Dr Fitzsimmons is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership with the University of Queensland Business School. He is also a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of practice. He is the director of the AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace and Managing Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC), a body whose members comprise of peak national bodies representing women across industry sectors in Australia.

His PhD in Leadership examined successful attributes of CEOs and differing pathways to CEO roles for men and women. In June 2015 Dr Fitzsimmons and Professor Callan and working with the Committee for Perth, released ‘Filling the Pool’ a major report into gender inequality in Western Australia and what government, organisations and individuals can do to address the issue.

Dr Fitzsimmons has worked with many of Australia’s largest firms on their diversity programs and speaks regularly in Australia and overseas in the area of gender equality and inclusion. He has served as national and state presidents of not for profit bodies as well as a being a director on boards of Listed Public Companies in Australia and overseas.

Chris Sutherland Image
Chris Sutherland

Managing Director, Programmed

Chris was appointed Managing Director of Programmed in January 2008 after its merger with Integrated Group in June 2007 where Chris had been the CEO since February 2006. He is an experienced executive who has held senior management positions in various engineering, maintenance and contracting businesses with operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (UWA) and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2001. Chris was also inaugural Chair of a Perth-based group CEOs for Gender Equity until 2018. In November 2017 Chris was awarded the Australian Human Resources Institute CEO Diversity Champion Award (AHRI). He was recently appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University

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Dr. Kate Hadwen

Principal, Presbyterian Ladies' College

Kate’s background in education includes teaching, research, lecturing and national project management. She is an honorary fellow at both Telethon Kids Institute and The Child Health Promotion Research Centre and is an Ambassador for Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check-In. She is author of The Australian Boarder Parent Handbook, and on the Board of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia and the Australian Youth Orchestra. Kate is currently Principal of Presbyterian Ladies’ College; however, will move to Sydney in July to take up the headship of Australia’s biggest school for girls Pymble Ladies’ College.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.