Call for Murdoch women to be bold for change

March 10, 2017

Inspirational women: Dr Paola Magni, Prof Sue Fletcher, Ashleigh Lindsay and Dr Janice Dudley.

The Murdoch community gathered to hear from a group of inspirational women to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Keeping to the theme of Be Bold for Change, the speakers shared their views on how our society can move closer to gender equity.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Education Professor Romy Lawson gave the opening address, sharing insights into ways Murdoch University recognises, celebrates and empowers women.

“There is no use recruiting women if we are not supporting them once they are part of the university,” Professor Lawson said.

“Murdoch has a number of initiatives underway like the Women’s Academic Mentoring Program Pilot and the Early Career Research Program.

“We are also identifying gaps which could cause women to be disadvantaged and are improving support and flexibility for staff with family and caring responsibilities.”

Professor Sue Fletcher, a Principal Research Fellow focusing on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, was candid about the need to move beyond entrenched prejudices and outmoded processes.

“Many of us have accepted lesser positions, inadequate superannuation, and lower pay because we had ‘responsibilities’ that may be perceived to make us less employable. On each occasion we do this, we empower those who value us less because we are who we are and we validate a system that covertly or otherwise supports gender inequality,” Professor Fletcher said.

“Universities are well placed to implement the flexibility that supports us all to perform at our best while at work, while fulfilling family and carer responsibilities. But beyond the practicalities and advantages of allowing flexibility in the workplace, line managers should be supporting parents and carers of both genders.

“I think you will find that the vast majority of people have integrity, are extremely conscientious and work to the best standard possible. If someone requests special consideration, it means they really need it.”

Associate Dean of the School of Business and Governance, Dr Janice Dudley, was next to speak, reminding the audience of the achievements of female parliamentarian May Holman.

“Murdoch is offering the May Holman Prize in Politics to celebrate her contributions to politics, promote knowledge of her significance to Western Australia and inspire women and girls to high achievement in politics.

“Miss Holman was bold for change – her life and achievements challenge us to do likewise.”

Dr Dudley was followed by forensics researcher Dr Paola Magni, who gave a heart-warming speech about how people need to accept their imperfections.

“I am not here to teach you anything, but just to tell you that your limits and your imperfections are your strengths,” she said. “Embrace them, be bold of your imperfections, let them become the fuse to light your fire and to conquer your life.”

The final speaker of the event was Ashleigh Lindsay, an inspirational recent graduate from the School of Law.

Ashleigh, who was a mother at 15, has recently secured a competitive graduate position through hard work and dedication. She shared her story and spoke of how her mother and grandmother had been such strong female influences in her life.

“Mentoring is a way to develop young women and encourage them to become the best they can be in their lives and workplaces,” Ashleigh said.

“I believe in a fair go for both men and women in any aspect of our lives.”

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