Empowering Women In The Workplace Is Everyone’s Job—Here’s One Step You Can Take

With Susannah George, Founder & CEO, Urban List

Media /
Freelancing Gems partnership

This article was first published in Urban List.

Celebrating, and working to normalise, the value of diversity in every sense has brought us so much closer to our community, our team, our clients, the talent and contributors we showcase, and the businesses we love. And in that process, we have all grown—as people and as a business—recognising how, by simply doing the right thing, the right opportunities have flowed our way.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the need for inclusive and empowering platforms has become more crucial than ever. And today, we get the chance to share one of the very best with you—Freelancing Gems—through a collaboration we’ve been working towards announcing for almost a year.

Freelancing Gems is  Australia’s first digital jobs platform dedicated to female freelancers, consultants, side-hustlers, and small business owners—a place designed to celebrate the insane talents of those who have chosen to live and work beyond the traditionalist box. They’re female-owned, female-led, and on a mission to transform the lives of all who engage—connecting employers with business owners and darn-hard-workers looking for part-time, freelance, flexible and remote roles across all industries, while ensuring they receive the recognition and compensation they deserve. Using AI to connect employers to talent immediately, they aim to help more women find meaningful work—and more importantly, close the gender pay gap for them while they do it.

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Before delving into the reasons behind our partnership, let us first acknowledge the sobering statistics that reveal the persistence of gender inequality in Australia’s workforce. Despite significant progress, there are still systemic barriers that hinder women from reaching their full potential. According to recent studies:

  1. Gender Pay Gap: Freelancing and part-time female workers in Australia earn, on average, 38% less than their male counterparts; in some industries, it’s up to 50% less. This wage disparity not only undermines women’s financial independence but perpetuates the cycle of inequality.
  2. Underrepresentation In Leadership Roles: Women continue to face limited opportunities to ascend to leadership positions. Only 17.1% of CEOs in Australia’s top 200 companies are women, highlighting the need for systemic change to address this glaring disparity.
  3. Career Interruptions: Women often experience career interruptions due to caregiving responsibilities, leading to gaps in employment and reduced career advancement opportunities. These challenges contribute to the persistent gender gap in senior-level positions.

Why We Are Partnering With Freelancing Gems

Non-Traditional Team Models Are The Future

Urban List has experienced the value of embracing non-traditional teams from the start. We have always had a decentralised crew, allowing us to source the very best talent without being restricted by geography. Our fully-flexible work environment—both time and location—enables us to benefit from the skills of team members who sit outside the old school 9-5 mentality, and we regularly collaborate with freelance networks to scale up our resources when workloads peak.

We are living proof of the value that can be unlocked through People & Culture innovation. The first time our entire team met face-to-face was after 10 years in business! And over that decade, we created one of the fastest-growing, most profitable and most engaged teams in our industry—Australia’s Media Brand Of The Year for 2021 and 2023.

Flexible, remote work options have seen our business thrive, and we want to see more businesses benefit from the same. Partnering with Freelancing Gems gives us the opportunity to shine a light on the potential of non-traditional People & Culture strategies: embracing new ways of recruiting and scaling resources to fuel growth, tapping into a talent pool of skilled women who bring diversity in perspective and expertise, growing female workplace participation and offering equal opportunities for all who are up for the ask.

We Have A Platform To Champion Female-Owned and Female-Led Businesses, And We Want To Do More

As a female founder myself, I am passionate about empowering women in the business world. By supporting female-owned and female-led businesses, we foster an environment where their contributions are not only recognized but celebrated. Our partnership with Freelancing Gems aligns with this vision, as it provides a platform specifically designed to showcase the talents and skills of women entrepreneurs and professionals, and helps other businesses get access to their talents when they need them, while ensuring they get paid what they’re worth.

Diversity and Inclusion Needs More Than Celebration—It Needs To Be Normalised

Urban List and Freelancing Gems share a common goal of creating a world where diversity and inclusion are the norm. We aim to move beyond token gestures, building sustainable and productive working environments across all industries—showing the value that comes from embracing a different and diverse model of employment. Through our collaboration, we can contribute to a more vibrant and inclusive working world, where opportunities are accessible to everyone who is up for contributing their talents.

We Want To Know What The Future Of Work Holds—And Back It Up With Solid Data

Freelancing Gems and Urban List share a passion for keeping up with the speed of work culture changes and understanding what makes everyone in the workforce tick. The 9 to 5 has never been more disrupted, which is why delving into the when, where, why and how is critical right now. We recently partnered on our first research report, ‘The New Work Order’, examining the future of work and what employees—full-time, part-time, freelance or otherwise—are prioritising in their work life. Our partnership with Freelancing Gems meant we were able to reach a diverse array of voices—and laid the groundwork for more research to come.

Here’s How To Get Involved

  • As a talented professional: join to “get seen, get work and get paid what you’re worth”. There’s also IRL events like masterclasses, networking events and co-working days, and an online hub full of tools and templates for like-minded Sole Traders and Freelancers to receive support and education on important things for their small business such as how to draft legal documentation, negotiate and ensure you’re charging what you’re worth using the Freelancing Gems rate guide.
  • As a business, whether you’re an owner or hiring manager: use the jobs hub to find talent by either listing on the job board where AI will connect you with available candidates, headhunt directly from the directory of women looking for work, or getting the Freelancing Gems team to pull together a Bespoke Candidate List of diverse talent. You can also liaise with their placements team at Gem Recruitment for assistance in finding diverse candidates to fill full time roles.

We believe this collab (iconic duo?)—Freelancing Gems + Urban List—is a significant step towards promoting gender equality and empowering women in the workplace, connecting our community and theirs through a centralised platform for employers to connect, and top talent to step up.

The goal? Creating a richer and more inclusive work landscape that’s filled to the brim with potential and opportunity. Together, we envision a future where diversity and inclusion are celebrated, and opportunities are available for all who aspire to make a meaningful impact. And I hope with all my heart, that you too are part of that ride.

Image credit: Urban List archives