In 2023 the Gender Equity Community of Practice (CoP) has provided professionals working in the community and public health sectors with the opportunity to network, grow our skills together and develop a shared understanding of gender equity in the context of the Goulburn North East region.

We have enjoyed insightful conversations, been introduced to new concepts and engaged each other in workshopping ideas and developing a regional, systemic, values-based approach to fostering gender equity and wellbeing in northeast Victoria and the Goulburn Valley.

If you are interested in attending Session #4: Codesign Masterclass with guest presenters, Paper Giant on 26th October 2023 (or would like to be on the mailing list for the 2024 schedule), you can register as a member via our Gender Equity Community of Practice webpage.

For the first session of 2023, guest speaker Seanna Davidson, director of The Systems School joined us to explore the reciprocal interactions between systems and gender.

Gender equity problems are complex and require complex, multi-faceted strategies to affect change.

Seanna explained that the challenge with systemic change is that:

  • There is no one person or organisation who is in a position of power or influence to affect change on their own
  • We cannot control or design systemic change. It is the result of multiple emergent changes across multiple different scales

Seanna emphasised the importance of aligned thinking and the shared understanding of a goal, with each actor contributing based on where and how they are best placed in the system.

Attendees discussed in small groups:

  • What is a collective outcome you might like to see for gender equity in this region?
  • What condition will enable or disable the ability to achieve this outcome? Within your organisation? Across the region?

“Action, generative collaboration, and leverage are key to achieving systemic change”.

For the second session of 2023, we were joined once again by Seanna Davidson from The Systems School to explore how we can achieve a collective definition of gender equity tailored to our region and its people.

This practical session provided space to put our learnings from session one into practice.

CoP members explored questions like:

  • Who are the key actors in our region?
  • Where do our organisations sit within the sphere of influence?
  • How are we working together?

Attendees then reflected individually and within small groups about what gender equity means to them. Each group came up with a statement and from here, the group statements were reviewed and refined into one collective definition.

Members reflected on what it was like to try and work towards a collective definition together and examined what factors enabled or disabled this process.

“When a shared outcome is significant and meaningful, commitment to that outcome can drive action across organisations and domains”.

For the third session of 2023, we had guest speaker Romina Farrell from Flourish Workplace Design join us to present a case study about values-based organisational change.

Romina spoke about how values ‘form the framework upon which organisational culture, structures, processes and systems are designed’.

Her case study demonstrated the process to creating sustainable cultural change, based on fostering shared values and cohesion.

We learnt about the “Barrett Model”, an analytical tool that can be used to visually map value alignment between employees, leaders and the organisation itself. We were shown how the model can inform organisations about where they can start working on shifting towards value alignment and cohesion.

The case study also provided examples of value-aligned initiatives and the outcomes of these changes, which included improved trust; stabilised employee attrition; as well as increased diversity and open communications.

Key takeaways from the session surrounded the importance of:

  • Developing and agreeing upon shared values
  • Whole of organisation commitment to change, starting with leadership
  • Values-based organisational change as an ongoing process with checks and balances
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