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Heading ABC the ‘culmination’ of Ita Buttrose’s career

Ita Buttrose has addressed a meeting of media women as she prepares to depart the ABC.

Ita Buttrose has addressed a meeting of media women as she prepares to depart the ABC. Photo: TND

Ita Buttrose describes serving as head of the ABC as the “culmination” of her career, during which she has helped shape the Australian media landscape and break down boundaries for women.

Having recently revealed she will not seek a second stint as the broadcaster’s chair, Ms Buttrose delivered the keynote speech at Friday’s Women in Media national conference in Sydney.

“When I was appointed chair, I realised all the things that I’ve done in my career had equipped me for this role,” she said.

“It’s been an honour to chair Australia’s most important media and cultural institution.

“I hope I’ve made a difference.”

The 81-year-old told the federal government last month she planned to end her tenure at the national broadcaster when her five-year term expires in March 2024.

Having begun working in media at 15 as a copy girl for the Australian Women’s Weekly, Ms Buttrose blazed a trail for women in the industry, becoming the first female editor-in-chief of an Australian metropolitan daily newspaper.

Appointed as head of the public broadcaster in 2019, she described a strong ABC as crucial to Australian democracy.

“I make no apologies for my continued passion about the independence of the ABC,” Ms Buttrose said.

“I want Australians to understand how precious and precarious that independence is.”

Asked what she would do when her time at the ABC concluded, Ms Buttrose said she was “not thinking of doing nothing”.

“Let me put it this way, I’ve had three interesting phone calls and two book publishers who want to talk to me,” she said.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland will be at the event for a panel discussion on advancing gender equality in the industry.

Documentary-maker and 2023 Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt, who leads the Body Image Movement, will also discuss the importance of body acceptance and self-compassion in the media.

Hosting Friday’s events is another industry veteran, Network Ten newsreader Sandra Sully.

Women in the Australian media face a unique set of challenges, with one in three considering quitting their jobs in the next 12 months, a recent report released by the organisation revealed.

Those surveyed for the report pointed to a lack of opportunities and poor pay as among the main factors driving women to quit.

Women in the information, media and communications industry earn on average 16 per cent less each week than their male counterparts, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

– AAP

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