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Advancing women serves us all

This was the parting message from Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, the Governor General of Australia in her keynote presentation at yesterday’s inaugural CEDA Women in Leadership series.  “I am very happy about the gender balance here today – it makes my heart sing”, Her Excellency began, acknowledging the collective potential of the mostly-female audience.

But she soon went on to point out the many indicators of a nation that is failing to harness this potential: the declining numbers of women in executive roles and on our top boards; that the issue of a statute based maternity leave system remains unresolved; and those feelings of failure that women share when it seems they don’t have it all together.  “What progress have we actually made to ensure there are more women in leadership?”

In her official role as Governor General, Ms Bryce confided that women often ask her  “How did you do it?”, in full knowledge that there’s no need to explain the “it” (as a mother of 5 and grandmother to 7 she fully understands the challenges of working women).  She spoke of the “pearls of wisdom” women seek, but suggested there are none: only a lifetime of experience harnessed in an environment that includes a supportive family, understanding professional friends and colleagues and of learning the importance of looking after oneself, because “if we’re okay then everyone else will be too”.  And of how much she herself gained from watching others who are succeeding and learning from them.

Drawing her presentation to a close, Her Excellency challenged men and women, corporations and individuals, to work together and to share the responsibility of finding different and better ways to support women through their careers, “because I promise you, advancing women serves us all”.

At sphinxx our vision is to see women equally represented in leadership roles in our workplaces and communities, which also means all of us working together towards this common goal.

So I ask of you:

  1. If you are an employer, how are you removing the roadblocks that have been holding women back in your business?
  2. If you are a leader, what behaviours are you role modeling to your team?
  3. If you are an aspiring leader, how are you tapping into successful role models and learning from them?
  4. If you are a working mum, what tips do you have on managing family and work commitments?
  5. If you are a community leader, what role can you play in this debate?

Please share your ideas on the sphinxx blog – I’d love to hear from you and our thousands of readers will appreciate your tips. And in the spirit of Easter, I’ll even send out cocolo chocolate to those who post their ideas.


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