19 March, 2019

Jane Caro: what diversity in action means to me

Jane Caro: what diversity in action means to me

Jane Caro will be guest speaker at the drinks association’s upcoming network breakfast, discussing “Diversity in Action”.

Caro wears many hats, including author, novelist, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker, broadcaster and award winning advertising writer. We asked her to give a few insights on how diversity has shaped her life and career.

What are some of the most personally rewarding moments from your career?

Winning my first advertising creative award – a Caxton in 1984. Getting a copywriter’s job at the hottest agency in Sydney in the 1980s – The Campaign Palace. Pioneering permanent part-time work for creatives in advertising after having my daughters. Being the first (and still only) female Chair of Judges for AWARD (Australian Art Directors and Writers Awards in 1997). Writing the most nationally and internationally awarded advertising campaign from Australia in 1994. Working with great directors like Ray Lawrence. Getting my first Op-Ed published. Leaving advertising to go out on my own. Getting a regular gig on The Gruen Transfer. Publishing my first book in 2007. Publishing my first novel in 2011. Publishing eight books (including a second novel and a memoir) to date. Instigating the Destroy the Joint twitter phenomenon. Coming third behind then PM Julia Gillard and journalist Anne Summers in the Daily Life Women of Influence awards. Making three documentary series with ABC Compass and one radio documentary series with RN Life Matters. Completing my third novel two weeks ago.

Have your encountered diversity challenges in your career? How did you tackle them?

I was always the only woman, or one of two women in the department as a creative in advertising. I was often the only woman in the meeting or on the committee. I always argued for more women to be exmployed and given chances. I always tried to write ads that treated women with courtesy and respect (still am - I was the writer on the recent Women’s AFL League launch ad). I am now recognised as one of Australia’s foremost feminists and I always speak up in support of women.
What does “diversity in action” mean to you?

Quotas. Without them we will get more lipservice but glacial actual change.
What is your definition of a diverse workplace?

All shapes, sizes, genders, races and backgrounds – including class. Seek out a diversity of voices and listen to them.
What do you regard as the top diversity issues facing the Australian drinks industry?

Same as every other industry – lots of women at bottom and middle, hardly any at the top and, of course, the wage gap.
What advice do you give your daughters about the diversity challenges women still face in the workplace?

Don’t be frightened by them, challenge them. Remember, every time you win something for yourself, you win it for every other woman striving to earn a living too.

The breakfast will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at The Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney.

Click here to book tickets to the Network Breakfast

Jane Caro appears by arrangement with Claxton Speakers International