International Women's Day 2018

7 Mar 2018

women working in labEvery year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March. Started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900s, the day now belongs to all communities everywhere.

The theme for IWD 2018 is #PressForProgress, with a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. This follows in the wake of the current global activism of the #MeToo/#TimesUp movements, and also the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings that gender parity is over 200 years away.

With this in mind, we asked a number of women in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences to share their stories about the barriers they’ve faced, and what they would like to see change for the next generation of women.

Dr Rebecca Olive
Lecturer in Socio-Cultural Studies
School of Human Movement & Nutrition Sciences
"As I progress, I believe it is important to look around me to make sure that as I move along I'm being a good ally for people who continue to face discrimination, which can be different and more challenging than my own."

Dr Fiona Kate Barlow
Senior Lecturer, ARC Future Fellow
School of Psychology
"I would love to see young girls growing up and feeling that they have agency and control, over their minds, their bodies, and their careers. I would love to see a world in which women are not valued (and do not primarily value themselves) on their appearance." 

Professor Pauline Ford
Head of School
School of Dentistry
"It's one thing to have gender representation in the workforce generally, it's another to have that representation at leadership level. Too often I see women being good corporate citizens at the expense of their own career progression." 

Dr Chelsea Bond
Senior Research Fellow
Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
"I'm interested to see how agendas which seek to advance women are more inclusive and intersectional (rather than universal) - recognising the different and unique concerns and requirements of women." 

Dr Jennifer Braeunig
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS)
"Always stay ambitious, and advocate on behalf of all women in your workplace if you are being treated unequally."

Dr Allison Mandrusiak
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
"I like to see sharing of strengths and celebration of each others' successes because when one person flourishes, the community is stronger and we can all flourish."

Dr Maree Petersen
Senior Lecturer
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
"I remember clearly as a new graduate social worker working in a team headed by a manager who could only be described as a bully. I wouldn't have been able to name it as such then, but I knew he was manipulative. However, I reached out to my colleagues who offered me support and affirmation."

Dr Treasure McGuire
Conjoint Senior Lecturer
School of Pharmacy
"Women need to embrace new technology such as mixed/virtual reality to allow us to work productively anywhere. This would overcome some of the family barriers that negatively impact on a woman's career trajectory."

Laura Anderson
PhD Student
Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR) and School of Psychology
"I think seeking out the voices of wiser women has hugely helped me to actively recognise sexism - particularly sexism that I had internalised or simply accepted. It has given me a language to observe and articulate inequality."

Professor Louise Hickson
Head of School
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
"Have confidence in yourself - put your hand up for new jobs and promotions when they come along. Don’t wait to be asked. Seek out senior women mentors to support you."

Professor Sarah Roberts-Thomson
Associate Dean (Academic)
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
"I would like society to appreciate that there are different styles of leadership and different ways of evidencing achievement and indeed different measures and ideas of success. Real diversity, not just inclusion of women, but inclusion of different races, ages, sexual orientation, is the pathway to success."

Professor Winnifred Louis
Deputy Head of School (Research)
School of Psychology
"I hope that there could be more support for parents in academia and recognition of the difficulties of academic life in terms of timing children. I also hope that there could be stronger recognition of the intersectional challenges for women of colour."

Dr Sarit Kaserzon
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS)
"Women are such fantastic creative thinkers that have in-built capacity to create and nurture, we should embrace that in all aspects of working environments."

Dr Shelley Keating
NHMRC Early Career Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
"I would like to see more women represented at the higher echelons of academia, e.g. in Professorships. I believe with the changing face of academia and the growing support for women in research, that this will occur in the not-too-distant future."

Dr Deborah-Anne Walsh
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
"Younger women (must) learn that feminism is not a dirty word and without a feminist movement where we all work together for the betterment of women worldwide we will stay less equal to men."

Judy Lockhart
Clinical Educator and PhD Student
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
"I would like more flexible and creative ways to look at work so that families and those with a disability can better participate and engage in meaningful contributions to the world."

Professor Christina Lee
Associate Dean (Research)
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
"We need to get past the idea that fixing inequality is (young) women's responsibility. It is people in positions of power who can change the system. While we are waiting, though, young women should call out inequity wherever they see it, and everyone else should shut up and listen to them."

Paige Brooker
PhD Student
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
"One of the biggest issues facing women in the workforce is being faced with the 'choice' between children versus career. It is of belief that, particularly in academia, if you want to be successful, at some point you will probably need to make that choice."