Almost half of Australia’s teenage girls believe their gender will hinder their career opportunities, new research shows.
The MyRoad Careers Survey, released by Coca-Cola Australia and the Beacon Foundation, is an independent study of 1,000 women across Australia to understand the barriers young women face when planning their professional future.
According to the research, female high-school students feel unprepared embarking on a career when they leave school. Two in five were unsure if they could cope with the many challenges of having a career as a woman, and one in five were concerned they would not be hired for a job that a male could easily get.
The survey is part of Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program, designed to economically enable 5 million women globally by 2020.
To expand the global initiative to Australia, Coca-Cola Australia and the Beacon Foundation partnered in 2016 to launch MyRoad – the country’s first online mentoring program that connects young women anywhere in the country with industry role-models across a variety of professional sectors.
Since the program launched almost 2,000 students have received online mentoring sessions from 220 industry mentors from 100 companies.
Christine Black, Coca-Cola Australia’s Public Affairs Director and a MyRoad mentor, said Coca-Cola Australia and its bottling partner Amatil had provided more than 60 mentors to the MyRoad program since its launch.
“We’re so proud to be able to contribute not only to the incredible program created in partnership with Beacon Foundation, but to the lives of young women who so deserve the best chance at success,” she said.
“Our global commitment to economically enable 5 million women by 2020 is one example of how the business has prioritised the need to give women the tools for success. Our support for MyRoad not only helps us toward that goal, but also helps us reach those in more remote areas, who often need it most.”
The MyRoad Careers Survey shows almost a third of young women in Australia don’t have access to career guidance or mentoring and more than half of those outside of capital cities said they would need to make their career choices alone, making them more susceptible to a life of unemployment, stress, anxiety and depression.
Scott Harris, CEO of the Beacon Foundation, said MyRoad lifted aspirations and reassured young women that the world could be their oyster.
“Enabling all young women across Australia to have access and exposure to work-related learning and authentic interactions with industry role models means they are more likely to have confidence to build their own career path, regardless of their gender,” he said.
The research showed working women were twice as likely to feel prepared for their career if they had a mentor in high school and three-quarters of women respondents in the workforce wished they had a mentor while in school.
Almost all students who participated in MyRoad in 2017 claimed to have increased their resilience to deal with stress and felt more work-ready thanks to the program.
“We’ve created a program that overcomes all those volunteer hurdles, such as taking time out of work, to ensure we’ve always got a mentor to share their story with the students and arm them for success when they leave school,” Harris said.