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The Big and the Bold from Day One: Women In Media National Conference 2023


Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Women in Media National Patron
Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Women in Media National Patron

We hope you enjoyed Day One of the national conference.


Not only were there amazing sessions and inspired comments for delegates to mull over, but there was also a serious outbreak of networking throughout the day!


Master of Ceremonies, Sandra Sully kicked off the event, setting the tone for a day of thoughtful discussions about innovation, invention, disruption, reinvention … and strength in unity.


MC, Sandra Sully
MC, Sandra Sully

The original disruptor Ita Buttrose AC OBE shared her remarkable journey as a trailblazer for women. Her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and lead by example are numerous. She made it very clear that she won't be silent about issues that matter and those that can make positive social change.


"As long as I remained on the women’s pages, I don’t remember any opposition but I like to climb mountains and when I get to the top, I see another mountain beckoning me and the pull of that mountain is so alluring I have to have a go at it. Don’t be afraid to push yourself forward, to recognise how good you are. You won’t always be made to feel welcome and that doesn’t mean you should give up."

Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Women in Media National Patron


And wow, did we hear from women at the epicentre of change. The "Advancing Gender Equality" panel, included heavy hitters Kate Jenkins AO, Sam Mostyn AO, Mariam Veiszadeh, The Hon Mary Wooldridge and Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland. They didn’t hold back and their dedication to creating a level playing field shows we have Big players advocating for change.


“I want to be clear that the gender pay gap, understanding what it actually is, is critical to the progress that we want to make. It’s not equal pay. Equal pay has been the law for over 50 years. The gender pay gap measures average salary of men, average salary of women, the differential over the average salary of men, so it’s a percentage. It actually represents not only pay but composition and a lot of the differential is driven by that composition element where we still see that 80% of CEOs are men, 60%+ of managers are men and that hierarchy compositions are changing very slowly.”

The Hon Mary Wooldridge


Hon Mary Wooldridge, Kate Jenkins AO, Mariam Veiszadeh, Sam Mostyn AO, Catherine Fox AM
Hon Mary Wooldridge, Kate Jenkins AO, Mariam Veiszadeh, Sam Mostyn AO, Catherine Fox AM

Steering us towards body acceptance and self-compassion, Taryn Brumfitt, the 2023 Australian of the Year, enlightened us with her personal journey in conversation with Natalie Barr. During the "Changemaker in Action" discussion, presented by our sponsor Seven, we learned how Taryn transformed from a viral sensation in 2013 into a driving force behind the body positivity movement.


“So many women judge their bodies so harshly and give themselves a hard time and what I now know ten years on, we really sideline ourselves in life, we diminish our power, we stop saying the things we want to say because of how we feel about our bodies.”

Taryn Brumfitt



Challenging gender norms and the power of advertising to influence our perceptions was discussed in "Myth Busting in Advertising." Leaders including Melissa Hopkins, Kirsty Muddle, Abbie Dubin-Rhodin, and Phoebe Sloane delved deep in this conversation guided by Sunita Gloster AM. This gathering of creative minds was inspirational.


“Media and advertising has got more impact on human behaviour than policy now … we have such an ethical responsibility to make sure what we are putting out in the world has got a positive impact.”

Kirsty muddle, CEO Dentsu Creative


Melissa Hopkins, Abbie Dubin-Rhodin, Kirsty Muddle, Phoebe Sloane, Sunita Gloster AM
Melissa Hopkins, Abbie Dubin-Rhodin, Kirsty Muddle, Phoebe Sloane, Sunita Gloster AM

The day ended with bold leadership on display during the "Business of Media" session which brought together broadcast, print, online, and platform business CEOs including Beverley McGarvey, Jane Huxley, Amanda Laing, and Mia Freedman. They explored the ever-changing media landscape offering insights into how they are responding to shifting platforms and evolving consumer expectations.


"It’s about knowing our audiences and where they are. People visit, but it turns out that as audiences have moved to different platforms, we have to get our content in front of them. So in fact, the challenge is the opportunity to get content in front of all of these platforms more and more and we need to be able to monetise the content."

Beverley McGarvey


Beverley McGarvey, Amanda Laing, Jane Huxley, Mia Freedman, Anita Jacoby AM
Beverley McGarvey, Amanda Laing, Jane Huxley, Mia Freedman, Anita Jacoby AM

Our guest speakers, panellists and moderators tomorrow - all 36 - come from wildly diverse professional backgrounds, discussing subjects ranging from disruption and tech to sport, storytelling, social media and the craft of journalism. So gear up for another full day and be prepared to network and make the most of your time. You just never know who you might meet and what magic might happen.


Thank you to the generous support of our partners and sponsors. ABC for the fourth year is our conference Major Media Partner and Seven and University Technology Sydney (UTS) are Presenting Partners. Paramount, Nudge Coaching and Southern Pictures are Supporting Partners.


Day One highlights:

Photos by Emma Brasier


Day One in the press:



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