At our annual International Women’s Day assembly, students heard from Old Girl (Class of 1995) and current parent, Ms Kate Golder. In addition to being a mother of three, Kate is the Head of Wealth and Accounting at Alteris Financial Group and was named one of Australia’s top 100 financial advisers in 2020

Kate spoke about how she defied gender norms by becoming a partner of Alteris at the age of twenty-nine.

“Not only was I a young female in a heavily male-dominated industry, I now owned part of a successful business. This was a big achievement. I didn’t know any other women who had been offered partnership in the financial advising industry at the time. Throughout my career, I am reminded that I am the minority in my industry. Most finance events I attend are generally full of men,” Kate said.

She discussed her disregard for the stereotyped gender roles of a stay-at-home mum and working dad.

“Being a mum was something I had wanted to do all my life, but now I also had a career I loved and quite an important responsibility as part-owner of a business. After six months, it made sense for me to return to work and my husband to stay at home with Jasmine. When Jasmine’s two brothers, Lachlan and Benjamin came along, this arrangement became permanent and continues to this day,” she said.

“Ladies, it might surprise you that even in 2021, some people think that a working mum and a stay-at-home dad is a controversial arrangement. My husband and I have been questioned about this decision many times, and he is constantly asked when he intends to get a “real job” again. And while it’s just the norm for our family, some people still don’t understand why I would want to go to work and why my husband would want to stay at home.”

“As you can tell, I’m not a fan of defining roles by gender, and I’m a firm believer that the more we break down barriers, the more we can be ourselves and have more fulfilling personal and professional lives,” Kate said.

Kate acknowledged the work of trailblazing women before her and also spoke about the struggles still ahead of women to achieve genuine gender equality.

“Today, women still only represent 20% of Australian financial advisors, and that statistic has been flat for more than a decade. We need to see more women represented on the front lines of financial advice to more accurately reflect the Australian population,” she said.

Offering her perspective as a financial advisor, Kate addressed the lack of economic equality between men and women.

“While women have come a long way in terms of education and workforce participation, we are still falling behind men financially. We generally earn less, which means we invest less and have less saved for our retirement. We still manage an unequal share of unpaid and domestic work. Never was this last statistic more evident than during the COVID-19 period where women were still working full-time while covering homeschooling and most of the work around the house.”

She finished by encouraging students to be involved in their finances and not underestimate their financial ability.

“Ladies, you need to be given financial responsibility early on and be encouraged to make good monetary decisions. Taking charge of your finances early means taking charge of your life,” Kate said.

“Make decisions for yourself and not for those who want to keep the world the way it was 100 years ago where males and females had their place and didn’t dare cross their boundaries,” she said.

Kate continues to champion women through Alteris Women, an initiative her company recently launched. The aim of Alteris Women is to address gender disadvantage by supporting women to empower themselves with financial knowledge and tools to give them the confidence to make decisions that best suit their lives and what they value most.