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Message from the CEO – July 10

July 10, 2018

As you would be aware with an imminent election, we are always on the lookout for a friendly face in the corridors of Canberra. This enables us to cut through when we are advocating on your behalf about the challenges facing Australian retailers. But no amount of understanding can ever replace the actual experience of being a retailer.

As such, I’m always a little heartened when ‘one of us’ moves closer toward becoming ‘one of them.’ As was the case over the weekend when the Managing Director of the Super Butcher retail chain, Susan McDonald, was elevated to second place on the LNP’s pre-selection ticket for the Queensland Senate.

In our view this means Ms McDonald is likely to win a Senate seat at the Federal Election next year, where she would join sitting LNP senators Matt Canavan, Amanda Stoker and James McGrath, whose terms expire in 2022.

In taking over the Super Butcher retail chain, the family has been able to strengthen the supply chain process to ensure that while farmers are paid fairly for the food they produce, retailers are also able to remain viable in a modern, competitive landscape.

Ms McDonald’s elevation could also improve the representation of women in the Nationals party in Federal Parliament, which currently sits at just two out of 21. Whilst the representation of women in positions of political power has increased over the past few decades, there is still a long way to go before we reach true gender balance.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Women, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, and founder and CEO of Business Chicks Emma Isaacs hit the couch at The Today Show yesterday  to highlight how slow the progress actually is for women in leadership.

We are ranked 49th in the world for female representation in leadership. Women make up just 32 per cent of the Federal Parliament, which is a far cry from a true reflection of the Australian population.

In Australian retail, women make up less than 8 percent of senior management roles. If this changes, we are likely to see improvements in the financial performance of our retail businesses.

This week Femeconomy released its Retail Gender Equality Progress Report July 2018. The report recognises brands which have at least 30% of women on the Board of Directors or are 50% female owned. It’s exciting to see the increasing number of brands who are embracing change and succeeding.

A report commissioned by the NRA in 2016 showed the retail industry employed more than 600,000 women across Australia. This makes retail the second largest employer of women nationally. It also revealed the industry was the largest employer of women under the age of 25.

I am pleased to report our members are embracing change in the gender equality space. Many of you contacting the NRA directly to discuss new strategies to encourage women to commence their careers in retail and continue growing their skills throughout their journeys. To all those brands who have achieved the Femeconomy badge this July – congratulations. 

I believe the retail industry carries great responsibility not just in creating opportunity, but in building real and tangible capacity for women to grab those opportunities.


If you are leading the charge when it comes to women in management in your retail businesses, please don’t hesitate to share your stories, tips and advice with us via nra.net.au!

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