Women of the Year

Cosmo's Woman of the Year, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, sounds off on the gender pay gap

KAK was just inducted into the Cosmo WOTY Hall of Fame.

By Jessica Chandra

In case you didn’t already know, Kerri-Anne Kennerley is a bona fide Aussie legend. The multi-talented TV personality has been working in the industry for years, and she always manages to strike the perfect balance between being professional and entertaining.

She’s also been super open about some of her biggest personal struggles, including her husband John’s recovery after his near-death accident almost a year ago.

It’s this career and life experience that made Kerri-Anne the perfect Cosmo Woman of the Year for 2017! She was also inducted into the WOTY Hall of Fame at today’s Cosmopolitan Women of the Year Awards.

Ahead of receiving her award, Kerri-Anne spoke to Cosmo about the most inspirational woman she’s ever met and why she doesn’t necessarily agree with the way everyone has been talking about the gender pay gap.

On the most inspiring woman in her life: “I interviewed a woman named Benazir Bhutto — she was the past Prime Minister of Pakistan, she was a very conservative Muslim woman, and at times the most powerful Muslim woman in the world. An incredible life — her father was hanged, both her brothers were assassinated, but she kept going through; she wanted a better world and a better country for Pakistan. She was unbelievably inspiring, because she knew she would be assassinated if she kept going, and she did.”

On her biggest fan: “I think my husband [John]! I would actually have to say that, although he does give me schtick a lot. In fact I walked out today, and he’s gone, ‘Really?’”

On the gender pay gap: “I think the stories that have been running around with that issue being published, I have a slightly different view. I think it threatens to dilute the broad gender pay gap, which is what women in coal face, who have to do quite menial jobs, who definitely a lot of the time can’t get the shifts they want, to put food on the table and a roof over their kids’ heads. They’re the ones who actually go to work and don’t get paid what they should, for various reasons. I would hate the gender pay gap issue to be hijacked because of celebrity, and people in very highly-paid jobs.”

On the Hollywood sexual harassment and sexual assault scandal: “Sexual harassment has been rife for years. I’ve got a new book coming out next week, and I talk about sexual harassment and discrimination — all sorts of issues that happened in the ’80s and ’90s. It still happens today. There are now laws against it — in those days there weren’t laws to protect young women against that behaviour, but now there are. I was never surprised by it. And I think there’s a lot more very nervous men whose behaviour is more than suspect, who I think would be feeling a little antsy and anxious about what’s going to come out in the next little while.”

On her one piece of advice for Cosmo readers: “Love who you are, and don’t be ashamed to go for what you want.”