VIEW: Gender empowerment needs to go beyond just the empowerment of women

The General Sir John Monash Foundation recently announced the recipients of its 2021 scholarships, Australia’s most prestigious postgraduate overseas study program. Among the recipients was emergency nurse of 15 years, Emily Ragus, who intends to complete a PhD in utilisation of gender empowerment theory within disasters promoting equality as a health diplomacy tool for Australia.

In this interview, Emily outlines why she is passionate about this field and why gender empowerment theory within disasters is an important issue for all Australians to reflect upon this year.

  • With the John Monash Scholarship, you’re planning to complete a PhD in gender empowerment theory within disasters. Why have you chosen this topic? 

Having worked in many male dominated areas of health, I have seen the subtle forms of discrimination that still occur. These subtle aspects tend to culminate to create a large societal problem that is often not recognized. I found that for myself, as a woman in leadership positions, I would still experience this, and I felt really disempowered. This disempowerment is a horrible feeling, and it is through self-reflection I decided systemic change needed to happen. This pushed me to focus my research into ways that this can be improved, particularly in relation to women in disasters.

Disaster management has progressed dramatically with gender equality, however we continue to fall short with regards to gender inclusion. What that means to both myself and the research that I am hoping to do, is to ensure that women continue to have a voice, but that voice is actively heard. As to mobilize the full breadth of the problem-solving capacity of a community, we need the whole community to be involved. By only listening to one side of a community during disasters, we are only understanding one side of the problem.

  • What have we learnt about gender empowerment or disempowerment from the coronavirus pandemic? 

What we have learnt is that gender empowerment needs to go beyond just the empowerment of women, it also needs to include how we can break down negative gender roles that put pressure on both men and women, to ensure we have healthier, happier communities.

Disasters indivertibly put emphasis on those groups within society that can experience vulnerabilities. COVID-19 as a public health disaster has done just that. It has been predicted that COVID-19 could globally reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights. Globally we need to implement programs and processes that work towards mitigating this gender equality decline. Because ultimately the equality that our Grandmothers fought for, needs to be extended to our children.

  • Why is equality a health diplomacy tool? What does this mean in tangible terms for everyday Australians? 

Australia plays a significant role within our geographical region. We are currently serving on the United Nations Human Rights Council, aiming to advance human rights internationally. However, there remains significant inequalities for women both domestically and within our region that we need to combat. A way to do that is through health education and empowerment through our humanitarian efforts in neighboring countries. This soft diplomatic maneuver can have a transformative change on people, but we need to use a framework to be as effective as possible in creating change around equality. My PhD will work towards establishing a workable and sustainable solution to a global problem.

  • What gives you hope that Australia is becoming more equitable? 

The #MeToo movement along with surging rates in domestic violence throughout this pandemic, have really highlighted the need within Australia to focus on the rights of women. I truly believe that as a country, we are pushing forward into a time of significant social change.

The next generation (both men and women) are not complacent to the inequalities that are still facing women in Australia, and they are also more educated as to what these inequalities are. I believe that collectively as a country we are passionate about changing the social landscape of Australia for a more equitable future.

About the expert

Emily Ragus is a 2021 John Monash Scholar who has dedicated her career to work towards a more equitable future. She has a Bachelor of Nursing from Queensland University of Technology, an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University in New York City and is currently completing a Masters of Global Development at Griffith University in Brisbane. Her professional background includes 15 years emergency nursing, as well as previously working as a remote area nurse, a helicopter trauma retrieval nurse and the coordinator for the Queensland Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT). Currently based in South East Asia with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Emily teaches first aid and pandemic control measures to vulnerable groups as a Pre-Hospital Health Delegate. With her John Monash Scholarship, Emily intends to complete a PhD in utilisation of gender empowerment theory within disasters promoting equality as a health diplomacy tool for Australia.

Image description: Emily has long, wavy brown hair, is smilling and wearing a white blouse under a beige jacket.


ADVICE: Understand and embrace engineering’s human factor – Trang Pham

Trang Pham, Civil Engineer at Aurecon and Chair of Women in Engineering Queensland at Engineers Australia, has had a varied career across retail, business, public service, and engineering in the private sector. She is passionate about representing and driving further diversity across STEM industries, particularly engineering, and recognises the challenges vary from organisation to organisation.

Engineering connects people – it’s not all stats and facts

Pham believes the engineering industry needs to make a greater effort to explain the societal and human impact of its work to invite and keep a more diverse workforce.

She explains, “People don’t understand it and think it’s very conceptual but it’s not. The stories we’re telling aren’t inclusive. We’re very analytical in how we describe our work. We say we’re building buildings, or designing roads, or building robots. This makes people think it’s purely technical and that engineering doesn’t require gender or diversity to be effective.

“But that’s wrong because the end users are humans. We need to talk about how the roads we’re building are connecting communities and providing access to health care and much-needed services, or how the robots we’re building are improving the quality of life for our ageing population.”

Being a woman in engineering was never a problem, until it was

Going to an all girls school, Pham remembers feeling empowered to study whatever she wanted, without any hesitation or restrictions based on her gender. At home, as the daughter of refugees from the Vietnam War, Pham also says engineering was a career she was encouraged to pursue by her parents because of its perceived stability.

By the time Pham started studying engineering at university, she started to realise that being a minority in terms of gender was going to be a part of her engineering career. She was often one of very few women in seminars and tutorials.

However, despite being a minority, Pham never felt the impact of a gender divide during her university years and says her diverse group of friends at this time ensured she was always welcomed and supported.

Once she joined the workforce, Pham’s experiences drastically changed.

In some work environments, she was part of truly diverse teams where everyone was from a unique background, culturally, religiously, or otherwise. She recalls having wonderful experiences because “you were a minority, but the majority was the minority.”

In other work environments, she “became an actual minority” and she saw significant shifts in how she was treated, viewed, and valued in the workplace.

At one stage, she had colleagues directly tell her she had only gotten a job because she was a woman and woman of colour – she ticked two diversity boxes for the company.

“It was so demeaning to my skills. I was so scared because of how I looked, I was actually standing out for once, and I felt so much more pressure to perform at a higher level than before,” she says.

Embracing a support network made me fearless

As well as her current role as Chair of Women in Engineering Queensland, Pham has been a Past Chair for Young Engineers Australia, and volunteers as a CSIRO STEM Professional in School partner. She attributes her ability to persevere past experiences of discrimination, while continuing to thrive in her career and contribute to the engineering community, to these support networks.

“Engineers Australia (EA) helped me maintain my voice within the workplace. It’s through Engineers Australia that I have developed my leadership and the role I play in the industry,” Pham says.

“It made me quite sure of myself in terms of what I had to say, what I had to contribute and that what I had to say was important. At times when I may have been scared of being seen or valued less in the workplace, through my experience with EA, I was able to take a step back and realise that I need to leverage my position and my voice to make sure I’m changing the industry for the better and for the people around me.”

Being empowered by her support network and with a drive to action change, Pham has been able to build allies and support network everywhere she goes, building her own resilience and ability to manage discrimination as it arises.

She encourages anyone experiencing discrimination in their workplace to “speak out”, but also recognises that this may not be possible for everyone. She says it’s important to assess whether the current situation is “taking your energy. If so, then you need to put that energy elsewhere that benefits you. That could be finding a job that supports you. That could be finding a support group of other women. That could be finding a hobby where you are supported and celebrated.”

She explains, “A lot of the time, people – not just women – get pigeonholed in a role and then their whole life revolves around that. For example, a lot of mums have that in any industries – people define them as a mum, not a professional, hard-working employee. It’s hard to say, ‘Ignore them’. But educating people that you are not just that person is really important, and developing that outside of work “

Today, Pham plays a key role in promoting diversity and inclusion at her current workplace, Aurecon, as well as highlighting for clients the ability to view engineering and business challenges through a human lens.

Relationships are everything in business

There were several times in her career when Pham felt she was a “failure”. She graduated several years after some of her peers due to needing to repeat some classes, and spent six months in retail management before using the skills from her business and engineering degrees in the corporate world.

However, over the years, Pham has realised that her perceived failures have led to some of her greatest strengths, and in the long-run, have enabled her to take leaps and bounds in her career that she otherwise may not have been able to achieve.

Her varied education across business and technical fields, combined with her diverse experience across multiple industries, combined with her strong work ethic and interest in understanding people has given Pham a matrix of skill-sets that are rare in engineering. In her words, it boils down to an ability to build relationships and connect on a human level.

She says, “If you can’t connect with your clients, you’re not going to bring work in and deliver the right solution. When you are building a relationship, you are trying to understand people’s stories, experiences and perspectives. Sometimes their issues aren’t engineering issues.

“Understanding that as well as the technical and commercial aspects is important, but understanding the person is the most important part. If you don’t get that, you’ll have slow growth in your career because you’re only skilled technically. If you build a relationship, people are asking for you and want you.”

About the expert

Trang Pham is a Civil Engineer at Aurecon within the Built Environment Unit, with previous experience in the IT and Infrastructure sectors. She is currently the Chair of Women in Engineering – Queensland and Immediate Past Chair for Young Engineers Australia – Queensland. Trang also volunteers as a CSIRO STEM Professional in School partner. Graduating from the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and Bachelor of Business Management (Marketing). Trang is currently involved with UQ’s Young Alumni Advisory Board and UQ’s Women in Engineering Alumni Ambassador Council.

Image description: Headshot from the shoulders up of a smiling woman with short, black curly hair, wearing a blue floral sleeveless top.

PEOPLE: Building a business school for women, by women

The culture, structure, and communities of business schools have altogether contributed to why women are still the minority among students. However, with significant improvements in each of these areas among many business schools internationally, the numbers are improving with 39% of students who enrolled in the top MBA programs being women according to a 2019 journal. Women highlighted the positive impact of a supportive and like-minded community, and changes from networking activities that were male-dominated to inviting and retaining women into these programs.

And this is good news for business leaders. With more female business graduates, there are greater chances of women joining or progressing within organisations to higher ranks, and businesses led by female CEOs and with female leadership present on boards demonstrate stronger business outcomes.

Peace Mitchell is an entrepreneur and business leader who recognised the opportunities presented by empowering more women, and also recognised the importance of continuing to invest in developing more accessible business school programs for women in order to truly reach gender equality and equity in corporate leadership.

  • Why did you start The Women’s Business School? Have your ambitions for the organisation changed over time? Why or why not?

My sister Katy and I have been in business since 2009. Our first business was AusMumpreneur, a community for Australian women with children running businesses from home.

We started the Women’s Business School in 2016 after recognising a need for dedicated business education for women. So many of the other programs out there were time consuming and inflexible and after listening to what women were looking for from a business program we created our own.

Our vision has always been the same, at its heart we believe when women are happy and well they’re better equipped to care for everyone around them and this includes their immediate family, their extended family and the wider community as well. Our delivery of this vision has evolved over time and has incorporated 4 key elements – community, education, celebration and investment.

  • How does your program differ to others?

Our program is unique in that is specifically designed for women. So many times when you hear about business, it’s stories told from a male perspective, books written by men, examples of successful men in business, photos of men in boardrooms wearing business suits.

Where are the women? What are their stories? What are their experiences? How do women do business? Where are the books about business written by women? How have the women who came before us navigated the world of business? What does success look like for women?

There really aren’t a lot of people talking about this and so we wanted to be pioneers in this space, highlighting examples of women leaders, business books written by women, and providing a diverse range of women mentors.

It can be intimidating for women to speak up in online spaces which are dominated by men so a learning environment where women felt safe to share, discuss and process their ideas, challenges and thoughts is important.

In addition to this the women we spoke to wanted to be part of traditional Accelerator programs but simply couldn’t commit to the 40 hours/week expectation to be in a coworking space, the research backs this up showing that women are less likely to enrol in postgraduate programs like MBA’s because of the demands on after hours time for group work and in person lectures. The universities know this and yet fail to address this.

That’s where our programs are different. We’ve created a time efficient and flexible program so that women can access them wherever they are and they can fit them into their busy lives.

  • What are some examples of how you’ve changed or adjusted the program in response to feedback from women?

When we started out most of our sessions were pre-recorded and available as transcripts, video or audio files but the feedback showed that they preferred regular live calls instead of precorded and we now do weekly live calls which has really developed a strong sense of community and collaboration.

Another aspect that has been really popular is one on one mentoring. We introduced this in 2019 and it has been really successful in providing a sounding board and deeper conversations around strategy and direction for the students’ businesses.

  • What are some of the most common challenges you worked with female entrepreneurs to overcome when you started out in 2016? Are they different to the challenges female entrepreneurs are facing today?

The most common challenge we see is self doubt. So many brilliant women are held back by that voice in their head telling them that they’re not ready, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not qualified enough, that no one will buy what they have. This voice makes them questions themselves and their ability and think, “Who am I to do this work?”

Because of this our program focuses on balancing both business acumen and personal development, providing a safe and supportive space for women to step out of their comfort zone and develop their confidence and self belief.

  • What’s your advice to female entrepreneurs who have been sitting on an idea, but are hesitant to act on it due to the current uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19?

My advice is always to listen to that voice in your heart that tells you to go for it, give yourself permission to indulge in the dreaming stage for a weekend and then go for it, take that first step, test it out on a small scale and see what happens. Don’t let fear stop you from following your calling.

About the expert

Peace Mitchell is a keynote speaker, author, CEO and co-founder of The Women’s Business School & AusMumpreneur, host of Women will change the World TV and Australian Ambassador of Women in Tech. Peace is passionate about supporting women to reach their full potential and create the life they want to live. She has helped thousands of women achieve their dream of running a successful and profitable business and believes that investing in women is the best way to change the world.

Peace Mitchell co-founded AusMumpreneur in 2009, creating Australia’s #1 community for mothers in business and co-founded the Women’s Business School in 2016 to provide entrepreneurial education for women globally. Today, her commitment is stronger than ever, to invest in the power of women to change the world.

PEOPLE: “Education is a privilege and a STEM career is a huge step towards empowerment and equality” – Muneera Bano

Muneera Bano is a passionate advocate for women in STEM and is an active role model for the next generation via the various accolades and positions she holds, including a ‘Superstar of STEM’ for Science and Technology Australia, and the Go Girl, Go For IT 2020 Ambassador. In this interview, Muneera shares her views on driving diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

  • What are the big things companies are getting right and wrong about how they position IT careers to the public?

My research focuses on the socio-technical domain of software engineering and I work at the intersection of human and computers in order to study the impact of technology on society. The amazing thing to see in the field of IT from my perspective is how current technological innovations have transformed society in ways so that we cannot imagine life without an aspect of IT. Especially during the pandemic of covid19, IT infrastructure became the critical backbone of society to keep most jobs on track. IT jobs and careers will become even more critical to the core of the post-pandemic society as we will see more transition to online job markets.  

One of my research interests in the field of IT is the inclusion and diversity of under-privileged and under-represented groups of people who do not receive the benefits of IT initiatives. While we look towards an advanced technological future with AI at the back, the digital divide could increase substantially. More initiatives are needed now than ever before to ensure that the future belongs to all, regardless of their gender, race, identity and socio-economic status.

  • How does this impact who applies for IT and technology roles?

The innovations in current IT infrastructure and platforms have enabled a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurship and have created new jobs. With e-learning and distant educational initiatives, anyone can upskill their capabilities to meet the new job requirements. The digital divide and the data gaps make it more competitive to access equal opportunities to new initiatives for those from under-privileged and under-represented backgrounds.

  • Why did you decide to recently become a Go Girl, Go for IT ambassador? 

Being a woman, an immigrant in Australia coming from Pashtun ethnicity, and in the male-dominated field of IT and Engineering, I have experienced every facet of diversity, and that makes me personally a passionate advocate. The aims of ‘Go Girl, Go for IT’ align with my mission of gender equality in IT careers.

In the future, with increased reliance on IT infrastructure, we have to ensure the design and outcomes of IT solutions meet the requirements of everyone. Innovation should be driven to improve the quality of life for all. For that, we have to impress upon the younger generation to play their part, especially girls and under-represented groups, to step forward and move into IT careers, so that we can create a fair and inclusive future together.

  • STEM careers tend to have stigmas such as being difficult, complex, boring, or only for high-achievers. How has or hasn’t this been your experience?

At the core of all STEM subjects are elements of intellectual curiosity, a quest for inquiry and creativity. Once we are able to invoke these factors in young minds, personal pursuit and motivation make STEM subjects easy and enjoyable. In my experience, personal motivation was the biggest driving force behind me selecting IT and Engineering fields.

Yes, STEM subjects and careers have a stereotype with only the high-achievers pursuing them. However, STEM subjects should be taught with the pedagogical design of accepting mistakes and making students learn from their failures rather than penalising them. This might help in not just academic and professional pursuits, but also change perspectives on life. 

  • What’s your message to young women who are steering away from STEM careers because they feel they don’t have high enough grades or school marks?

I come from an ethnic background in Pakistan where in my mother’s generation of girls were not allowed access to education. Given the equal opportunity to education, I decided to prove I can outperform in a male-dominated field. I grew up without any female role models and had to find my way.

Next time you go to school, think of all those who have been denied of this opportunity and have to fight for their right of education. I have a clear conviction in my life that education is a privilege and a STEM career is a huge step towards empowerment and equality. If you wish to make your mark in digital history, now is the time to make a choice.

About the expert

A passionate advocate for women in STEM, Muneera Bano was announced as the ‘Most Influential Asian-Australian Under 40’ in 2019. A ‘Superstar of STEM’ and member of ‘Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ committee for Science and Technology Australia, Muneera has a strong commitment to smash society’s gender and cultural assumptions about scientists. She is the Go Girl, Go For IT 2020 Ambassador with the aim to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM careers.

During her research career, Muneera has also received prestigious recognition for her work, including being named as a finalist for Google Australia’s Anita Borg Award for Women in Computer Science, Asia-Pacific 2015. She was also the recipient of Schlumberger’s Faculty For The Future (FFTF) Award for Women in STEM (2014 and 2015) and was given the ‘Distinguished Research Paper Award’ at International Requirements Engineering Conference held in August 2018. As the winner of Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australians Award, Muneera was offered Dr John Yu Fellowship for Cultural Diversity and Leadership at Sydney University in November 2019 .

VIEW: Makeup does not have a gender

Lisa Mitrov has been a makeup artist for a decade and is frustrated with seeing the same challenges over and over again – limited options for people of colour, stereotyped products based on gender, and stigmas influencing who should and shouldn’t use makeup. In 2020, Lisa believes makeup should be gender neutral, and it’s time the industry caught up with where society wants it to be.

  • As a makeup artist, how difficult or easy is it to keep a makeup kit suitable for models/clients of all skin colours and types?

When it comes to skin types, the market is flooding with an endless supply of beauty products to address any of your skin concerns. From dry to oily, sensitive or acne-prone it’s safe to say there is an extensive range of products available for you.

Now, I wish I could say the same about skin shades but the reality is there is still a HUGE lack of diversity and representation for People Of Colour.

Not too long ago, I walked into my local makeup store looking to top up my makeup kit with some face powders suitable for my clients and models of colour. As I searched the store, examining each product from high end brand to brand, I had no issues finding countless shades of white and more white but could not seem to find the shade I was after. I decided to ask the floor staff to point out where I could find a powder deeper in shade. As she paused for a moment, I could see the colour draining from her face. She franticly started searching the store and stated that some shades may be “hiding away in storage”. After some time waiting for her, she pulled out a bronzer and said “this might work”.

Since that very moment, I haven’t stepped foot back in that place . I refuse to support a company that claims to be “inclusive” but in fact, still demonstrates discrimination. Makeup should equally be as accessible in store, regardless of your skin colour!

  • What are the stigmas around makeup that you’d like to see change? Why?

Makeup should not exclude ANYONE. This includes the domination of gender in the beauty industry. As a working professional, I have done makeup not only on women’s faces but on men’s as well. Every TV show you watch, or online store you shop at, you are looking at a male with makeup on.

I would love to see a demand in change for the way cosmetics are packaged/ labelled and promoted so that it’s gender neutral. Studies show that men are becoming increasingly interested in shaping their appearances whether it’s concealing blemishes or evening out skin tone. I want to break down that stigma that men can’t wear makeup.

Makeup does NOT have a gender.

  • What are you doing in your day-to-day work to change the stigmas around makeup?

I love to educate my clients/models about their skin and what specific products are best suited for them. It’s also very important for me to constantly research the ever-growing industry so I can discover and support the brands out there that are already trying to step up and REDEFINE the beauty game.

  • What can others do to drive change around gender and/or racial stereotypes related to makeup?

Start by educating yourself and do a little research online, broaden your search on your socials and ask yourself, do I follow a diverse range of accounts? This includes race, religion, age, gender and the LGBTQIA+ community. What you follow is what you SEE.

Once you start broadening your content you will start to notice a change which may encourage you to use your voice to break down these stereotypes we see not only in makeup. Once you make a start, you may find yourself a strong community of other individuals going through the same experiences and this is where we can come together and create CHANGE.

  • In a perfect world, how would you like to see the makeup industry evolve? What does it look like?

Online, I have definitely seen some great brands use their voice to step up and push for change but I would love to see this translate IN STORE.

Anyone from any background, should be able to walk into a makeup store and feel confident that whatever they are looking for they will get the same service, respect, products and advice as EVERYONE else. No more discrimination, no more lack of shade range, and no more gender boundaries.

About the expert

Lisa Mitrov is a proud queer woman who is gender fluid working in Hair and Makeup for 10 years now. She has worked for the TV Week Logies, on Film Sets, for Weddings, and on Photoshoots for brands such as Cotton On, Edge, St Goliath, Supre, and Factorie.

VIEW: Why women need to lead by example on empowering other women

Women represent a mere five per cent of board executives and 16 per cent of board members of the top 200 utilities globally. Also, some energy companies report up to 90 percent of entry level jobs being applied for by men, highlighting the multi-layered challenges of driving gender diversity in the industry.

It was this lack of diversity, lack of support for women in the industry, and lack of solutions to driving diversity moving forward that pushed Penelope Twemlow to create Women in Power.

  • What instigated the drive to build Women in Power? 

Starting a business is a big step for anyone to take as it quite often leads to a lot of uncertainty regarding the future. However, three other inspirational women and I chose to build Women in Power to pursue a passion and to close a gap in the market for the services that Women in Power provide. Women in Power aimed to fill the substantial gap in the marketplace of the significant lack of diversity in the energy and power sector and no representation for women which needed to be addressed.

Building and working in a company around something that you are passionate about means that I go to work every day for enjoyment and fulfilment rather than merely earning a wage to pay the bills.

  • Why is it important to have camaraderie among women in male-dominated industries? 

Despite steps being taken to make room for women at all levels in all professions, the culture and demands of some professions, along with women still being perceived as the primary care giver and child raiser, make it very difficult for women who have worked hard to succeed and to thrive. 

It is extremely important that women can confide in and befriend other women who have shared experiences to not only assist them to navigate various situations, but to facilitate learning and understanding from those experiences.  

  • How have your own personal experiences impacted your approach to supporting and empowering other women? 

From a very young age, my mother taught my sisters and I that we could achieve and do anything we set our minds to. She empowered us all to be the biggest and best people we can be. My elder sister has two daughters and she celebrates their self-expression, and always has done, which is empowering them to be who they want to be.

This mentality and constant motivation is the basis of my firm belief that empowered women empower other women. 

I also believe that women are all too often held to unrealistic standards – whether it be as a mother in the home, standards of beauty as displayed by the media, or their abilities in a workplace. I have experienced that during my working life and now find it very important to shut down any negativity or unrealistic standards and to promote positivity and intelligence in their place.  

Women are fighting for equal rights and greater diversity in the workplace but it is coming at a cost. Rather than seeing women as a competitor, advocate, support, and embrace them as friend, not foe. If you see unfair treatment in the workplace, or something that you would not want to happen to you, stand up for your colleague and put it right. 

We should be leading by example and setting the standards for how each of us should be treated, which ought to be no different regardless of your sex.

  • What does resilience mean to you? 

To me, resilience means knowing how to survive despite setbacks or barriers. It is a measure of how much a person is determined, willing and able to overcome obstacles to get there. Resilience isn’t about being fearless; it’s about acknowledging the fear and taking courageous leaps, rather than getting trapped in paralysis.

  • Is it important for women to show resilience in the workplace when faced with hostility or challenges due to being a minority? Why or why not?

A workplace presents a different set of stressors for both males and females, particularly in the current economic environment which is undergoing radical change due to COVID19. In this respect, it is vitally important for both men and women to display resilience in the workplace.  

Studies have shown that women are more likely to be self-critical, to neglect their mental and physical health, and to become stressed from work and family life. Given women are faced with conflicting personal, professional and societal challenges which are not ordinarily experienced by their male counterparts, or at least not to the same degree, it is very important that women learn how to become resilient and demonstrate that resilience in the workplace.

About the expert

Penelope is a multi-degree qualified professional with 20 years’ experience in strategic and operational management, project and risk management, and governance and compliance. Penelope also demonstrates people management, organisational culture and communications skills across a wide demographic and range of disciplines, including time in the Australian Defence Force.

Penelope is currently the Vice President of Operations for Churchill Coal and a Principal Consultant for WSP. She can be found commuting nationally to all State capitals, using her experience and expertise to manage various client projects and managing a national team.   

Penelope is a sought-after speaker and author and her compassionate nature and high level of emotional intelligence allow her to provide support to all stakeholders. Penelope’s work in the diversity and inclusion fields is vast, having co-founded and now Chairing the not-for-profit organisation titled Women in Power. She is also a partner and Ambassador for the United Nation Women’s Council of Australia and national Advocate for White Ribbon Australia.