BUNDABERG’S Tanya O’Shea will take centre stage in front of more than 1200 people at the IML ANZ Great Debate in Brisbane on Friday, March 6.

The debate, which is a major part of International Women’s Day activities in Queensland, will see Ms O’Shea among six hand-picked and accomplished Australian leaders engage in a verbal clash over current ideas of equality, diversity and progress.

The Managing Director at IMPACT Community Services said she was excited ahead of stepping up to the microphone at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and facing her biggest audience to date.

The concept for the debate honours the history of the “shouting” women that paved the way for the new generation of female leaders.

Ms O’Shea will argue that the world won’t listen unless women shout, however, her team will add their own compelling spin in a presentation that promises some big surprises for the audience.

Without giving anything away, she said the debate was a great opportunity to shine the light on issues of inequality and ways to empower women.

She pointed to the under representation of women in the national political arena and arts space as examples of inequality in action.

“People say that women are equal, but that’s not the case,” Ms O’Shea said.

“A recent Per Capita report shows that young girls go into high school believing that they will have every opportunity when they grow up, yet only 57% of girls still believe this when they finish school.

“This debate is a great way to have a really important conversation and bring important issues to the attention of a big audience.”

She said “a collective voice supporting a cultural and social shift in attitudes towards women” was needed for the next breakthrough.

“Certainly, if you look at the space of management in the workplace, the research shows there’s a loose rung for women being able to break through to become entry-level managers,” Ms O’Shea said.

“Let’s say for every 100 men being promoted, there’s about 70 females and there’s a problem here where women are being left behind.”

She said IMPACT prided itself on giving all staff the opportunity to succeed.

The not-for-profit organisation has a higher representation of women on its board and an equal number of women in senior management positions.