Women in Super (WIS) continues its advocacy for better female representation on superannuation boards and leadership roles through its scholarship programme, now in its third year running.
The national advocacy and networking group has collaborated with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) @UNSW Business School to provide access to executive education programmes focused on improving leadership skills.
"This programme demonstrates our commitment to our members with development opportunities that will help them become future female leaders," NSW chair of the association Sandi Orleow said.
The announcement was made at the Women in Super luncheon held in Sydney this week. The keynote speaker, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, congratulated the winners and acknowledged WIS and AGSM for facilitating the programme.
"One thing I've carried through my career in banking and in my public life is the importance of really knowing the substance of what you're dealing with, being an expert in your area ... to be able to study and fulfil that side of your career development is a wonderful opportunity," the NSW Premier said.
The 2017 scholarship winners are:
Christine Abonyi - Contact Centre Manager (Northern Region), Link Group
Ruwanie Dias - Acting Chief Investment Officer, Commonwealth Bank Group Super
Ciara Gaffney - Senior Legal Counsel, First State Super
Jodie Tapscott - Senior Manager Corporate Responsibility, Colonial First State
Also speaking at the event was Cate Wood, WIS national spokesperson and chair, who shared the group's key priorities in front of a packed audience.
"We support greater financial literacy and education about superannuation and we support employers introducing measures to improve superannuation outcomes for their female employees," she said.
But what WIS doesn't support is the view that women have to make up for their lower retirement savings without the industry and the Government making drastic changes to the superannuation system.
Research found that women retire with, on average, half the superannuation balances of men. "The greatest disparity for women is evident at lower income levels," said Wood.
To address this, WIS is calling for a more equitable redistribution of tax concessions, retention of the low income super contribution, raising the superannuation guarantee to 12%, removal of the $450 monthly threshold (most women miss out on super as they fall below this threshold) and include super in paid parental leave.
"Our vision is a superannuation system without gender based inequity," said Wood.