Medibank's Craig Drummond says the time for lasting change is now

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Medibank CEO Craig Drummond says the issue of sexism is "a very important national conversation and it is clear that the community want action. The community wants lasting change."

Mr Drummond said no workplace is immune from the problem and that the only option is to have a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence, sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.

"And there must be consequences for perpetrators," he said, adding, "At the heart of the issue is sexism – systemic and cultural sexism."

Mr Drummond said men must call out sexist jokes, stereotyping and biases that traditionally went unaddressed and do more about the structural issues like the gender pay gap, female representation in management, power imbalances and equal parental leave for men and women so that caring duties aren’t a women’s issue alone.

The Medibank boss said the sharing of lived experience helps generate awareness and encourage societal change. Mr Drummond said it can help others impacted by harassment and sexual assault to better understand their experience or urge them to reach out for help or report an incident.

"At Medibank we celebrate gender equality and all forms of diversity but we also back that up with policies that promote gender equality," he said.

"Outside of Medibank, as a Member of the Champions of Change I’ve had a very prominent role in developing robust workplace responses to domestic and family violence and rethinking how we prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment," continued Mr Drummond.

"Challenge people if you hear them say ‘it doesn’t happen’, or ‘she just wanted attention’, or ‘she can’t be trusted’, or ‘she shouldn’t have been walking alone at night’," he said, adding, "Change has been slow and that’s not good enough. The time for small steps is over. It is time for lasting change."