Women in Leadership: A Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare

You know what grinds our gears?

It’s 2022 and we’re still talking about this s**t?! We’re wondering how much longer we will need to fight for equal representation and why is progress moving at such a slow pace?

Growing up, it was common for us to assign gender to jobs. Women always took on carer roles like teachers and nurses whilst men took on positions of #POWER like pilots and CEOs. As we grew up and became more aware of not only our own capabilities, but the collective abilities of all women, did this glass ceiling begin to shatter - albeit a little slower than we would like, but hey, we’ve all read the tortoise and the hare!

From where we’re sitting, we have two options before us: roll our eyes and tell ourselves ‘Nothing will ever change’ and stick to the status quo OR encourage and support women as they climb the rungs, spotlight women doing incredible work and take inspiration from different stories across different industries - being the eternal optimists and fighters for change, we’re going with option two!

So here we have three incredible tortoises, ahh we mean women, doing pretty extraordinary work as leaders, working in male-dominated industries or trailblazing the way for the millions of women to follow.

Meet Dayle Stevens (Hi, Dayle!).Dayle is not only a fabulous Business Chicks member, but also a Technology Executive with nearly 30 years' experience in the technology industry and (and this is the best part) was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her service to information technology, and to women in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honour list. With only 20% of the Australian ICT workforce comprising of women, having strong female leadership in the technology space is imperative to not only support the number of women in the industry, but also to encourage others to join.

As an Ambassador for Girl Geek Academy, a global movement encouraging women to learn technology, create startups and build more of the internet, women like Dayle are helping give that tortoise a little extra speed.

Now allow us to introduce you to Ellen Dollin (Hi, Ellen!)

Another easy role to assign to men growing up was any job to do with cars- because what do women know about auto, right? Well, wrong!

Ellen joined Goodyear and Dunlop Tyres as Store Manager in July 2021 in hopes of escaping an office job and hasn’t looked back since, “at the time I was seeking a job that wasn't sitting at a desk and one where I got to interact with customers,” she told Business Chicks. "This one fit the bill.”

When we asked what it was like being a woman in the auto industry, she told us it was “very entertaining.” “My store is based in a suburb with an aging population, so the older gentlemen get very taken aback when a woman is handling their tyre needs.” But when it comes to support from her employer, Ellen says Goodyear has been nothing but encouraging, “the whole team has been incredibly supportive, welcoming, and even motherly at times.”

As a girl growing up in the 80s and 90s, it was more likely you received a Barbie over a ball, but that didn’t mean we didn’t know how to get our game faces on!

Meet Ali Brigginshaw (Hi, Ali!)

Footy isn’t just for men and Ali is proving that point every. single. day.

Rugby league player and co-captain of the Australian Women's 9's team, Ali has over 11 years in the game and two world championships to her name. Women like Ali are challenging stereotypes that women are more capable (physically and otherwise!) than we’ve been given credit for and sometimes we need to just take a plan and run with it; even if it’s straight into the opposition.

Since the year 2000, the proportion of women with a bachelor's degree or above in Australia has doubled, we have the highest number of women in parliament than ever before and we make up 51% of the workforce. We’re educated, we’re (getting) more represented and we’re showing up and doing the work. Sure, we can all agree we wish we could whack on a pair of rollerblades to that tortoise and get her moving a little faster, but it’s important to still appreciate that progress has been made. 

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