On 8 March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. The 110-year-old global initiative celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of woman and unites the community to push for gender parity.
In 2021 the City of Perth is proud to be led by our first female Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Reynolds, operate with a workforce made up of 47% women and governed by a council that consists of four women Councillors (50% of all Councillors) including Deputy Lord Mayor, Sandy Anghie.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated in various forms across the globe and grown into a global celebration of the power of women. The day serves as a reminder of the progress still to be made until gender equality is achieved across all spheres of public and private life.
This year’s theme for IWD 2021 is Choose to Challenge - a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. In recognition of the day we’re showcasing the thoughts on gender equality from some of the great women who help make a difference every day to the City of Perth.
Deputy Lord Mayor of City of Perth and Architect
I’m privileged in my roles to positively impact our City and, through this, the lives of the people who work, live in and visit here.
My advice to women starting in their career would be not to be afraid to move sideways and try different things. For me it was a move from law and commerce to architecture. Not everyone has it all worked out from the get-go of their careers, and that’s ok.
Whatever path you journey down, the most important thing is to be present. Enjoy what you are doing now. Opportunities often arise when you are not looking for them.
Thinking about a gender equal world, I would encourage everyone to consider that a gender equal world starts with how we look at relationships. If and when a woman choses to settle down, and if she decides to have a child or two, it’s important to take shared responsibility – both partners. Give both people in the relationship space to have a career and a life. This is important.
Coordinator of Parks Project
I’m a big believer in flexibility being a contributor to a gender equal world - for working parents flexibility equals meaningful participation in the workplace. Shared home responsibilities allow working mums to take on more professional opportunities and leads to greater earning potential, increased independence, empowerment and agency.
Providing opportunities, along with mentoring and networking, and celebrating success is critical.
This year for IWD my advice to women starting their careers are these three tips:
- Challenge yourself. Take the opportunities that come your way, even if they are uncomfortable! And if they don’t arise, ask for it.
- Don’t get overwhelmed – every task is achievable if you break it down and focus on tackling one challenge at a time.
- Connect with other women and build a network. In my experience, I’ve found working mums to be the greatest supporters of each other in the workplace.
Councillor of City of Perth and President, Strata Community Association WA
Councillor Lezer began her time as a City Councillor following the Election in October 2020.
In my roles I am a privileged to speak to interesting people on a huge range of topics. And I do mean huge. Today for example, it's been Fire Safety in apartment buildings, homeless issues, community events, various pieces of legislation, dog parks, drainage, lighting, budgets, welfare check on someone in East Perth, trees and more.
On IWD and every day we need to make sure the loudest voices aren’t downing out the rest in our quest to forge a gender equal world. We need everyone to have a voice, be heard, and the people in the positions of authority should actively work with this goal in mind; who is at the table, who is speaking and who is paying attention.
My advice for women starting their careers follows this, remember to speak up. Your thoughts are valid and valuable. Jump in and say it. Don't let the conversation move on without saying what there is to say. Think assertive, not pushy.
Business Development Officer
After graduating university while raising a young family and working full-time, Jacqui has become a key player in Business Development.
In life it’s hard to ignore the gender norms perpetuated by society. As the mother of teenage children, I help forge a gender equal world by raising them to be mindful of the challenges that exist for men and women.
I lead by example in challenging the status quo. To me this means stepping outside of my comfort zone and speaking up against discrimination and inequalities. It means being brave in bringing these conversations to the forefront and not being afraid to use my voice to deconstruct gendered beliefs.
Gender equality is everyone’s issue and if I continue educating and empowering my children and my peers to speak out and become advocates, I believe it will be a better world for everyone.
My advice to women comes from the inspiration I’ve received from everyone around me, and that is to own your journey and be brave in connecting and sharing your goals with like-minded people. Great things can happen when we join forces and work together to learn, grow and hold one another accountable in a safe and trusted space.
Coordinator Library Services
Each day the doors of the City of Perth Library glide open welcoming the community to a world of escapism, the person lining up each element to make it possible is Joanna.
Our Library is all about lifelong learning and I believe to help forge the equal world it starts with making sure girls and young women have access to education and career choices. Educating women improves health outcomes and supports educational opportunities for the next generation.
Equal pay for equal work is a long time coming - confidence in our own capabilities and the right words to ask for what we want is vital. We need to acknowledge and support women who need it, to have safe homes or to raise resilient kids or contribute to society and community in another way.
To young women starting their careers, I encourage you to take all the opportunities you can, even if they’re not the level you want it will help you gain experience and make contacts within your field.
Do your best to persist despite setbacks, sometimes not getting the job you want is a blessing in disguise and try your hand at volunteering.
Also, remember Perth is a small pond, and everyone knows everyone else. As a young professional, being known as reliable, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and happy to do any tasks and duties is important.
Councillor of City of Perth, Councillor of Mindarie Regional Council, Senior Company Secretariat Advisor, Chairperson for Australian Health Practitioner’s Regulation Agency’s Performance and Professional Standards Panel
I love the variety of my work and am fortunate to work with some very knowledgeable, hardworking individuals that drive me to be my best and make work enjoyable.
I changed roles a lot early in my career and well-meaning people would comment on the fact that it “didn’t look good”.
The reality was, bullying was prevalent in several of these workplaces. My advice to young women is to trust your instinct. Don’t listen to other people about what your career should look like. Only you know what behaviours you are tolerating in the workplace and if the best thing for you is to leave, then do so. I now work somewhere which rewards good performance and promotes work-life balance. Such workplaces do exist!
In order to forge a gender equal world, I think it is important to lead by example. I work hard to be the best candidate for a role and, if successful, I work even harder to ensure no one questions why I am there. Some people like to undermine successful women and say their success is a result of filling quotas. If you can silence those voices by demonstrating your value every day, then you open the door for more women to follow your success.
In addition, I always endeavour to foster the positive working environment that I wish I had at the start of my career. Creating a respectful workplace ensures all employees are willing to contribute, when they may otherwise feel intimidated.
Manager Parking Services
I love my job and the sense of ownership, the feeling that I contribute to a better tomorrow. I am here to make a difference for the City, its residents, businesses my team and the wider community.
Being a role model for others is what inspires me to be the best I can be. Team work is a value I hold at its highest regard, we are communal creatures, we cannot operate alone. I live by the motto, you manage things, you lead people.
To young women starting their career I have a few tips
- Learn a new skill on a regular basis.
- Create a work place where all employees have access to opportunities and take those opportunities when they present themselves.
- Learn as much as you can from the ground up and put yourself in the shoes of those that you work with.
- Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and work really hard.
Who you are as a person, your values and beliefs are also most important, and they feed into how you can help to forge a gender equal world. I believe we should encourage everyone to talk to our children and remind others that all genders are equal.
Creating a culture in the work place that is accepting of work life balance and building in flexibility will allow us achieve success for all. It’s about foster inclusive workplaces to encourage everyone to have a vison and to speak up, as all ideas have value and merit.
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