This article was published by MamaMia on June 22, 2017.
Written by Dana Morse.
When Madeleine Grummet and Edwina Kolomanski met, they were composing a thesis on the gender gap in business.
With more than 20 years of experience in education and parenting between them, they could see a glaring problem with how girls progress from school to the career world.
It’s said girls can’t be what they can’t see – and when only eight per cent of ASX 200 CEOs and one in five board members are female, women are grossly under-represented in positions of leadership in Australia.
This is a problem Grummet and Kolomanski believe is unlikely to self-correct. So they’ve taken action.
They are now the founders of the girledworld, a startup committed to diversity, equality and innovation aimed at empowering the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs, starting in secondary school.
“Our DNA as a startup is about creating change and diversity,” says Kolomanski.
This weekend they are launching their inaugural girledworld Big Ideas Leadership Summit 2017, a leadership and entrepreneurship event aimed at educating and inspiring the school girls of today to become the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
“It’s time to close the gender gap and show girls what’s possible for them," say Grummet and Kolomanski.
"We’ve designed an event that will engage, inspire and educate girls by teaching them new skillsets and mindsets, and connect them with Australia’s most inspiring female trailblazers in the innovation, entrepreneurship and STEM sectors.”
The Summit is to be held in Melbourne and will feature everything from workshops on how to make it as a Silicon Valley startup, to financial literacy and pitching workshops.
The two-day event will bring some of the most successful female founders and leaders together with secondary school aged girls to share their expertise, inspiration and career advice with the next generation.
"We’re excited about getting a group of diverse school girls in a room to talk about the future of work,” says Grummet.
“Our story is one of celebration, positivity and action… We want to activate change because business needs to do better for everyone – not just themselves.”
Grummet and Kolomanski believe that having “gender quotas” in leadership roles is the wrong way to bring up the number of women in these positions.
They believe the key lies in getting girls involved earlier and creating a pipeline for them to enter startup, leadership and STEM based roles.
“Our theory of change is to create an intervention with girls on a secondary school level and provide them with enterprising skill-sets, mindsets, tech-sets and role models they need to step into the future of work.” says Grummet.
The girledworld Summit is expected to see 500 attendees and will an feature outstanding all-female line up of over 30 speakers, including Yassmin Abdel-Mageid, MP Kelly O’Dwyer, and CEO of Startup Victoria Georgia Beattie.
“These are women who are truly doing unbelievable things.” says Grummet.
The event is exclusively for secondary school aged girls, as well as mums, mentors and children.