International Women’s Day: This is what leadership looks like

24 February, 2020

During the past 12 months, women and girls in our local region, across Australia and around the world have found themselves “walking and chewing gum” when it comes to gender equity.

That is, they’ve held up our foundational economy, shouldered an increased burden of domestic and care work, pivoted their lives to homeschooling and working from home amongst the distractions of life during a pandemic, all while keeping their eyes focused on how recovery from COVID-19 might offer the opportunity for a more just, gender equal world.

We’ve seen women in our own lives show courage, skill, audacity, care, compassion, vulnerability, integrity, intelligence, grit and persistence as they’ve led families, communities and the country through the pandemic. So many women have shown that “leadership”, as a concept, is a vessel that we can and should fill with the worthiest human qualities we can find. That it doesn’t have to be about competition, “power over”, material success, mistake-aversion, extroversion or pride. That it doesn’t have to bend itself to the masculine ideals that our brains typically snap to when we think about what a “leader” is.

They’ve shown us that the best leaders are those who are able to be their authentic selves, nurture people’s imaginations and invest in and care deeply about those around them.

So for this year’s International Women’s Day, we’re putting our own spin in the UN Women theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” and highlighting stories from women leaders in our own corner of the world.

We’re highlighting these stories because we want to emphasise the obligation that we have to ourselves and our communities to validate women’s experiences, voices, skills and perspectives as being those of great leaders. We look to these stories because they inspire us to shift our collective imagination of what democracy, representation, community and participation can look like.

These are the examples that we so desperately need if we are to have any chance of centering our communities and lives around principles of justice, care and equality.

And so we invite you, this International Women’s Day, to share stories of your own wonderful women leaders and tell us what leadership looks like to you.

Click each tile to download it to share it as part of your own IWD 2021 social media campaign.

Watch our social media accounts for the stories and join the conversation using the hashtags #WHGNE #IWD2021 #InternationalWomensDay

We worked with Mitchell Shire Council to deliver an online brunch on IWD 2021

It was a fabulous conversation, and we’ve got a video of it that you can access here.