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We Are On The Precipice of a Revolution

Yesterday’s International Women’s Day marked the celebration of women’s contributions to work, life and culture in many countries throughout the world.

Here in Australia, we also celebrated this achievement. But the 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge is particularly poignant for us. Over the past week, global news outlets such as CNN and the BBC have reported on the woeful experiences of young women in Australia’s society, culture, schools, corporations and even Parliament House.

Their experiences were of bullying, intimidation, coercion, sexual harassment and rape. It makes many of us sick to the stomach because many women have experienced some form of disrespect in their workplace.

In the country that once led the world in the fight for universal suffrage (as early as 1884) we still experience disrespect.

Why have we not progressed? 

Both men and women have experienced this disrespect and humiliation in Australia, over generations.

Many know that it’s time for change – that those perpetrating this backward culture must be held accountable. We need to address the factors that reinforce this power imbalance and lack of equality.

As an economist and data strategist, I’ve been analysing the relevant sentiments expressed by Australians online. They highlight the narratives of:

  • misogyny
  • patriarchy
  • white supremacy
  • sexual harassment
  • sexual violence
  • workplace bullying.

Each of these topics, while powerful, do not stand alone. They are interconnected. As are our community – when one is hurt we are all hurt.

By using AI to measure emotion, I’ve been tracking petabytes of online content – because this is the most effective, wide-reaching and unbiased way to develop an impartial understanding of what people think. It’s where our collective wisdom lives. It’s where people are genuinely truthful about how they feel.

Legacy methods need to be replaced

No focus groups. No online surveys. No phone polls. Forget the 3,000 people that are randomly polled on such issues. These methods are neither effective nor accurate.

It’s time to invest in better practices and techniques that provide insight into how people actually think and behave. Surely in the 21st century, we can utilise more powerful and efficient methods to look into the future.

Everyone wants to navigate change with confidence.

What do I see?

The data is clear and I’m not liking what I see – because it validates the stories that have been shared these past few weeks. It’s a curious experience to stand back and objectively analyse a phenomenon which I – as an Australian woman – have directly witnessed.

I see red. Do you?

This emotional wheel below illustrates the INTENSE Dislike, Fear, Anger, Annoyance and Harassment from the data I analysed. I saw this in September 2018, then again in November 2020 – sadly, the world has not changed.

And this is only the beginning of the picture I’m piecing together from the data.

Maven Data: Workplace Bullying in Australia

To put this into perspective, when I analysed the market at the time of the 2017 Banking Royal Commission I specifically tested the AMP financial services company (one many brands which were feeling the heat). As the emotion wheel below illustrates, by December 2018 a disturbing profile had developed. The market perspective was predominantly negative (red), featuring high expectations (blue). While people were clearly disappointed by the AMP brand, they expected some kind of meaningful change.

This change didn’t occur swiftly enough. So in May 2019 “5.5 billion in cash walked out the door of AMP as customers left the brand.”

Enough was enough.The market had spoken.

Maven Data AMP Banking Royal Commission Australia 2018

Why it matters

We predicted this important behavioural change in AMP customers – because their emotions flagged their departure from the company.

Now I see the same behavioural indicators around the state of the Australian workplace and the prevalence of bullying. The intensity of the negative emotions around this narrative (one of many that are interrelated) signals to me that the market is primed to undergo significant behavioural change – and this momentum is building.

My Prediction

Change is in the air. Young Australian of the Year Grace Tame was spot on last week – we are indeed on the precipice of a revolution. We need to address this phenomenon before it further impacts the development of our economy, our culture, our legal system and our future.

Change is coming and it will impact our society, schools and corporations. And yes, even Parliament House. Young Australian voices are clearly the catalyst for that change. Remember Greta Thunberg in September 2019? We predicted that too in January 2018. The data doesn’t lie.

Where you come in 

The research base and comprehensive insights that Maven Data has developed to this point have outgrown my original scope. It’s no longer an in-house project.

We’re keen to build our research model to scale. Which is why Maven Data is actively seeking the support of those invested in understanding and responding to the coming changes – in business, government and policy making.

We can bring these market truths to the surface to empower governments to re-engage with what matters most to Australians.

We can work with corporations to understand how these human narratives will impact their organisation (and provide guidance in how to avoid the AMP experience).

We’re committed to the #ChallengeToChange. How can you and your organisation contribute and benefit?

Can you help Maven Data commission this groundbreaking research at scale? I’d be keen to discuss the options.


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Tuesday 15 December 2020, 6.30pm - 7.30pm AEDT


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