Celebrating Gender Equality Every Day

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Event 1 2016 – Melbourne Development Circle: Women in Development

This is a recap of Melbourne Development Circle’s first event for 2016: Women in Development which was held on April 15, 2016.

We had the pleasure of hearing from 3 brilliant panel speakers;

Read on for some take away messages from the evening.

Susanne Newton spoke on a variety of topics from UN Women in Uganda to fighting the good gender fight back on her home turf. There’s much to be learned from Susanne’s time in Uganda, such as challenging the efficiencies of the UN as a tool for development.

  • Uganda has more women politicians than Australia – because of quotas. Are quotas the best way to gender equality?
  • Men and boys have a role to play in championing for gender equality– they must be part of the solution.
  • Realisation – if we as Australians in a Western society don’t have gender equality ourselves, how can we instruct others in it?
  • Key to gender equality – livelihood streams owned & managed by women.
  • “Be the change” … we all can & should contribute to gender equality.

Eleanor Meyer spoke about combatting adversity as a young woman in tech start-up. Following an environmental sustainability passion, Eleanor has looked for market-based solutions to climate change. As a young woman, in start-up, in tech, it’s not been without challenges.

  • Questioning the power of our job titles.
  • Is small business supportive of gender equality? Is it an economic decision?
  • That point of view is outdated & conservative. Disruption & technology is helping to change this.

Kate Halstead shared her stories & personal learnings from women’s education programs in Nepal. A moment that stood out was a drawing that Kate shared with us. The drawing was by Ganga, one of the women from the women’s empowerment classes that Kate was running during her time in Nepal. It was a picture of a women with many arms and each arm was holding a different object. It represented the many hats that women in their society wore and the responsibilities they were expected to carry.

  • Nepal can by synonymous with the caste system – but what about Australia’s caste system? Our upper, middle & lower classes.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of “poor women” – you run the risk of missing the individual triumph of women when discussing “development”
  • These women are not victims and don’t see themselves as victims of their situation. They’re empowered already & just need opportunity.
  • In short – they’re gutsy.

You can champion gender equality through social capital. Support each other. Like & share if you see someone going out of their way to lead or make positive change happen.