Despite Australia being a proudly diverse country, the worlds of business and politics have traditionally lacked adequate representation. Although women make up approximately 50% of the Australian population, they are still in the minority in parliament and the workplace, holding less than 40% of elected roles and about one third of key management positions.
Since starting Advoc8 in 2016, I've seen positive strides in the representation of women in these sectors and for this year's International Women’s Day I am reflecting on four Australian women, who inspire me and I admire…
Licia Heath, CEO, Women for Election (WFE)
Running for parliament is a scary thing. Pre-selections and preferences, media interviews and news cycles feel foreign to first timers, and can deter anyone considering a tilt at politics. Thankfully Licia Heath is on a mission to address the gap in female representation, and since 2017 has been empowering women with the skills and knowledge to run for all levels of government through WFE's programs, workshops and masterclasses. There will be a whopping 17 graduates of WFE's EQUIP Program contesting the NSW election later this month, and I'm so excited to follow their journeys.
Zara Seidler, Co-founder of The Daily Aus
I'm a fangirl when it comes to Zara Seidler and the Daily Aus, a social-first news platform which has become an indispensable news source for almost half a million young Australians (and while I sadly no longer count myself in that cohort, I do love the important, and perfectly bite-sized news that lands in my socials). By taking the news to where young people live and making it more digestible, Zara is bringing this demographic into the political, socioeconomic and cultural discourse and empowering them with the information they need to be involved in the big issues.
Sally Sitou, Labor Member for Reid in the Australian Parliament
A fellow daughter of migrants and working mother, Sally Sitou won the Western Sydney electorate of Reid at the 2022 Federal election. Her parents fled Laos following the Vietnam war, and arrived in Australia as refugees seeking freedom and opportunity for their family. It goes without saying that Sally is determined and accomplished, but also real and relatable - she has spoken frankly about the challenge of work/life balance and the difficulties she's experienced juggling motherhood and a career. It's inspiring to see that while it's not always easy, it is possible to have both and do an incredible job.
Taryn Brumfitt, 2023 Australian of the Year
This year's Australian of the Year is an advocate for an issue that's close to my heart. Growing up, I struggled with body image, and knew many around me who did too. So while I was shocked to hear Taryn Brumfitt say that it's the number one concern for 70 per cent of school children, I was sadly not surprised. By shedding light on an issue that often gets swept under social pressure to be skinny and whatever kind of 'beautiful' is trending that day, Taryn is making sure that fewer young people will struggle, and struggle in silence as they often do.
Throughout my career I've experienced incredible support from both female and male collaborators who are passionate about progressing gender representation in politics, technology and business leadership. There's a long way to go in these industries and even at Advoc8, but I'm proud to celebrate and support the many women doing amazing things in these spaces.