Casey Burchell freely admits that she was raised in a feminism bubble.
“Growing up as an only child of a single mother who worked with homeless women, feminism was ingrained in our household,” she says.
“It wasn’t until I was older that I recognised my mum’s approach to the world wasn’t everyone else’s approach. In university, I took politics classes that only featured male theorists, and the one lecture on feminism only went for 30 minutes.”
This realisation that her normal wasn’t everyone else’s normal made Casey passionate about working for women’s rights. As she puts it, “I just want to reframe the system to make it fairer and less bullshit for women!”
She’s completed two degrees in politics and gender studies and has spent much of her adult life working or volunteering within the women’s sector, campaigning against gender-based violence and supporting sexual and reproductive health.
“I’m particularly interested in the way that young women can be lifted up by the generations of women who have come before them, and how we can pass on a legacy of opening the door and paving the way for other women.”
Casey has been a mentor with YWCA Australia’s Asista program since February 2017, mentoring a teenage girl who’s been through the child protection system.
“It’s been a real privilege to be there for a young woman, but also learn from her and her life experiences. As a society, we disregard the experiences and abilities of teenage girls, so to be there for someone at a crucial time of their life is amazing.”
It was through her ongoing connection with YWCA that Casey learned about their 2020 Board Traineeship Program.
“The opportunity to learn from an organisation that I know and trust, with values that align with my own, is a special and rare opportunity.”
As one of two trainees accepted into YWCA Australia’s 2020 Board Traineeship program, Casey will be partnered with a current board member, sit in on YWCA board and committee meetings as an observer, and undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Foundations of Directorship course.
The thing that really appealed to Casey and encouraged her to apply was the structure of the traineeship. The combination of theoretical learning and practical observation and involvement in board meetings was a unique opportunity.
“Often educational institutions talk a lot about access and supporting those who aren’t normally considered leaders, but this isn’t often translated into something tangible. YWCA’s Board Traineeship is a great example of a private institution partnering with a not for profit to offer something really practical for a demographic not often supported with these opportunities.”
From the YWCA Board Traineeship, Casey hopes to strengthen her ability to integrate a gendered lens and feminist leadership to governance in organisations outside of the women’s sector.
“I expect to learn a lot over the next 12 months, and to come out feeling a lot more knowledgeable and confident about governance and organisational sustainability.
But most importantly, Casey sees this as an opportunity to not just improve her own career goals, but also improve opportunities for other young women.
“I hope to continue making the world a more equitable and supportive place. Honing my governance skills will just open up a new avenue to advocate for girls and young women.”
Casey is one of two young women selected to be part of YWCA Australia’s Board Traineeship Program. As a YWCA Board Trainee, Casey will be partnered with a current YWCA board member, sit in on YWCA board and committee meetings as an observer, and undertake the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Foundations of Directorship course. This Board Traineeship program is part of YWCA’s commitment to advancing leadership opportunities for young women in Australia.