AIM Women in Management Great DebateShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
Many a memorable Great Debate came to mind as the hundreds gathered at the National Convention Centre to lunch and laugh along with friends and colleagues. And as the ‘long lunch’ moves into folklore, we work longer and harder, wonder if work life balance is as mythical as nirvana and why are women still not treated as equals then the question of quotas is valid. “Quotas are a Girl’s Best Friend” emblazoned on the giant screens was the topic. And the Australian Institute of Management’s Women in Management Great Debate was ready to tackle it. Well, after a bit of socialising, networking and delicious food.
Topics for the Australian Institute of Management annual Great Debate are selected to get the juices flowing. Stir the debaters and the audience and bring forth valid arguments and a few head shaking ones as well.
Salivating at the opportunity to put their case the invited debating teams gather – separately of course – to plan their arguments and this year with the master of the comical and the topical Paul McDermott at the podium to maintain decorum and eschew any obviously catty cat calls from the teams the ladies argued for and against that “Quotas are a Girl’s Best Friend”, and not quokkas as McDermott posited.
If quotas get you where you want to be, of course you’ll be with the affirmative, with Katy Gallagher, Jacqueline Zwambila and Rona Mellor arguing that case. Katie wearing her best black T-shirt emblazoned with “this is what a quota looks like” to stir up the crowd. If merit is your benchmark you’re for the negative with Megan Dalla-Camina, Lynne Pezzullo and Avril Henry on your team, and showing their true beliefs this audience at The National Convention Centre asserted to Mr. McDermott loudly for the negative.
The arguments for both sides were of course clever and witty, as were the successful and impressive women delivering them, but I wonder if when this audience of ‘women in management’ and a smattering of blokes gathered around the water cooler to recover from a couple of sparkling wines at this fun lunch and thought about where they are and where they’re going if maybe a quota would work for the ‘workplace’ system that is slow to change.