Right Lane Consulting hosts Women’s Financial Security Forum

On 13 September 2018, a group of passionate, like-minded people came together for Right Lane’s Women’s Financial Security Forum, to develop breakthrough ideas to lift Australian women out of financial hardship.

Right Lane’s Women’s Financial Security Forum in action. 

Thank you to all participants for helping make this day such a success and thanks to Department of Creative Affairs for videography.

Background to the forum

As an ethical consulting firm Right Lane is passionate about giving back to the broader community using the skills and expertise available within our walls, and each year we make a commitment to deliver real impact for a number of low/pro bono projects. We focus our efforts on women’s health and financial security, indigenous enterprise, harms from alcohol, place based disadvantage and responsible investment.

In 2018 in pursuit of this objective we undertook the delivery of a Women’s Financial Security Forum.

The idea for this forum was sparked when we realised many of our Right Lane staff have observed women close to them facing financial hardship in their lives, and in many cases facing multiple disadvantages that make it hard for them to be financially independent. It might be that a partner left them, or they have fled a violent domestic situation, or that they aren’t receiving the payments they need to survive, which means they have suddenly tipped from coping into serious financial hardship. A discussion was initiated around what we could do to make lasting change with this very real problem, and the idea for this forum was born.

Women's Financial Security Forum Zoe Pappas

Women's Financial Security Forum

Women's Financial Security Forum

Women's Financial Security Forum

Our aim for the forum

Our aim was to bring skills and ideas together, and draw on a broader, diverse group of people to discuss and ideate on the issue of financial security for all Australian women. We wanted to get a group of passionate, like-minded people together firstly to hear more about the lived experiences of women facing financial hardship, and secondly to use that collective brain power to develop ideas that could really drive change.

Our approach for the day

The agenda started with an introduction covering the purpose of the day and the issue at hand – including a recap of the key points in the participants’ briefing pack covering the systematic disadvantages women face and the triggers that can push women into financial hardship. (Download briefing pack here).

Participants heard from a panel of inspiring women who gave their first hand accounts of living through financial hardship, often caused by circumstances and systems that are out of their control.

We also heard from Terese Edwards, CEO of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children who spoke about the difficult financial challenges facing the women her organisation represents.

Over lunch, participants shared with their groups what resonated most from the morning’s discussions. They also discussed and agreed on the one to two issues their group would develop further.

Key issues identified

A summary of the key issues identified were:

  • Changing government, community and societal attitudes to women seeking assistance
  • Value of women – power imbalance; cultural shift around gender roles
  • Compliance and communications regarding welfare support
  • Providing timely, relevant access to education at particular points in a women’s journey to address various issues applicable to them (financial literacy, life course options, independence and entitlements, services and benefits)
  • Lack of systematic service co-ordination to help women get information and navigate through the services and system when at risk of, or in, financial hardship
  • Cost of living: housing, utilities, childcare, etc.

Ideas for change

Participants worked together in groups to come up with six ideas that could make a meaningful and positive difference for women at risk of, or currently facing financial hardship. These ideas are:


Next steps

Participants identified ways they could progress these ideas. Right Lane aims to be a conduit for bringing people together to further this agenda.

How to get involved

If you would like more information or want to be involved, please submit an enquiry via our contact form. Please indicate which idea(s) you are interested in and why, and how you can contribute to these idea(s).

Participant feedback

‘An event like this is really important to bring together people from across a whole range of places and experiences. We all work in different areas and we have people here who are living through financial hardship, so I think it is really good to hear from lots of different people and to get everyone together in a room.’

Forum participant

‘Although some of the stories were heart wrenching, through them came great resolve and resourcefulness. As a man, I was motivated to take action and I hope to have my fellow male colleagues attend similar forums in future.’

Forum participant

‘The main highlight from the Forum was the effective, pragmatic process and the discussions that contributed to it.’

Forum participant

‘Overall I thought it was an excellent forum and the program and timing of the day worked really well. Great to see such a cross section of organisations represented. Well done to the team for organising such a worthwhile (and interesting) event.’

Forum participant

‘Great day! I am really pleased to have been invited to this event. I really like how you had the supposed ‘experts’ in the room learning from people who have lived it. That is a great learning and intervention on its own. I am looking forward to the many spin offs and activities that flow from this event.’

Forum participant