We are so excited to announce that we are a finalist in the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Care Awards!
We have been recognised for our national programs that support young women and girls to develop leadership skills. We are also recognised for our work in addressing the gender-based stereotypes, bias and inequities experienced by women in our society.
Why is this important?
The dominant concept of leadership in Western society is one that traditionally has been associated with stereotypically masculine traits. This often means that young women, specically young women under 30, are unable to locate themselves within the concept of leadership, as rigid gender roles and gender stereotypes often portray women as subordinate or passive and therefore unable to be leaders. The distance from the concept of traditional leadership is exacerbated if the young woman identifies as a person of colour, as LGBTIQ+ or has a disability.
There are a number of other issues that impact on young women’s ability to realise their leadership ambitions, including:
Gender-based stereotypes and unconscious bias which impact not only young women’s ability to advance in their careers and achieve leadership positions and pay parity through employer discrimination and bias against women of childbearing years, but can also inform violent attitudes in others thereby increasing the risk to women’s safety and wellbeing, and restricting women’s ability to take control of their own bodies and sexuality.
Lack of support for women’s training and leadership programs, and access to opportunities, mentors and training, including formal and informal education, meaningful training and development opportunities, and work opportunities. Many leadership programs have been designed for the stereotypical white male leader, and a gender lens has not been placed upon the suitability of the structure and content of these programs.
Structural inequities in the workplace including the lack of flexible workplaces, fefective transition back-to-work practices for working parents, support for fathers in primary caregiving roles, and paid parental leave which leave women in a poorer economic situation and less likely to participate in the labour force during childbearing years.
Women’s leadership has both intrinsic and instrumental value. As well as women having rights to equal participation in decision-making and leadership in our society, research shows there are economic, governance and productivity gains associated with increasing women’s representation in leadership roles across the community. There is a need to recognise and support young women and girls as current and potential leaders.
How do we address the issue?
Our goal is to have a positive influence on the lives of over two million women, young women and girls across Australia by the end of 2023. We develop young women’s leadership through programs that teach authentic, values-based, mindful leadership practices, including targeted age-specific programs like the Aboriginal Women’s Leadership Program, SHE Leads and SHE Leads High, the ASISTA mentoring program and the Gender Equity Matters and Unconscious Bias workshops.
This includes the establishment of Australia’s most representative Young Women’s Council, made up of 18 young women and girls who play a role in advising the Board on issues impacting young women.
Collectively our programs in Australia help develop young women for leadership in advocacy and community engagement, through programs for girls of all ages that teach authentic, values-based, mindful leadership practices.
We also enable young women to speak directly with government policy makers through federal advocacy campaigns and international opportunities to participate in the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women and other events.
We also reflect our commitment to young women’s leadership in our own Constitution, with a quota of 30% of our board members being young women under the age of 30.
Winners will be announced at the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards ceremony on Tuesday 26 November 2019 in Canberra.
If we win this award, worth $10,000, we will dedicate the prize money towards our work in supporting young women’s leadership through programs, services and initiatives like the Young Women’s Council.