17 May 2019

Young women, take the lead! A festival of empowerment

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Career paths for young women can still be challenging after all these years: Image: Supplied.

If the last year in politics and public debate has shown young women anything, it’s that the path towards the career of their choice can still be filled with challenges.

Close to the third decade of the 21st century, there is still a visible gender pay gap that has barely moved, concern about how few women sit on the government benches in Federal parliament and an unfolding social tsunami about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Still a real thing, then, after all these years.

On Tuesday May 21, the ANU’s Gender Institute and Silverstone Edge, who work in change management, have partnered for a day-long workshop and festival called Young Women Take the Lead! The idea is to create a platform for young women that enables them to connect with potential mentors and role models from a wide range of career paths.

Women who have had successful careers in politics, law, technology and journalism will be speaking individually and at round table discussions with a specific focus: for example, a round table on the future for young women in politics and another on diversity and leadership as well as performances by women artists and opportunities for networking throughout the day.

It’s based on the premise that empowerment should start at the beginning of your career and to that end there is an emphasis on interactivity. Often starting with high expectations about the world of work, the size and unexpected nature of workplace barriers for young women who may have always been high achievers during education can come as a huge shock.

The event’s guests include Meegan Fitzharris MLA (ACT Minister for Health & Wellbeing, Higher Education, Medical and Health Research, Transport and Vocational Education and Skills); Michelle Dixon (CEO and Partner, Maddocks); Trish Clancy (Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group); Caitlin Figueiredo (Global Gender Equality Activist/ ACT Young Woman of the Year 2018/ Founder & CEO Jasiri Australia); Morgan Marshall (ACT Young Woman of the Year 2019); The Hon. Kate Lundy (Former Senator for the ACT, and Former Minister for Multicultural Affairs); Dr Marie-Louise Ayres (Director-General of the National Library Australia) and Ashleigh Streeter-Jones (Gender Advocate and ACT Woman of the Year 2018) among many others.

It’s been designed to cover multiple disciplines and to enable young women to establish contact for mentoring relationships and networks in their chosen fields in a way that generates confidence and support for career paths.

The Young Women Take The Lead! Festival happens at the ANU on Tuesday 21 May from 9 am – 5 pm at the Drama Theatre, Kambri University Ave, Acton.

It’s a free event. More information is available here.

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