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International Women’s Day: celebrate achievements and accelerate gender equality

5 March 2020

News and media


Icons representing amazing women

International Women’s Day on March 8 is a global day celebrating the achievements of women and marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

This year’s theme #EachforEqual calls on every one of us to help create a gender equal world by taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions, and choosing to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a business issue and it’s not confined to one day of the year, with continuous collective action required for progress.

ANZSOG funded research on gender equity in the public sector

An ANZSOG-funded research project led by Dr Sue Williamson (UNSW Canberra) found that there was a “gap between expectations and the lived experience of women in public sector workplaces”.

Based on interviews and focus groups with 300 public sector managers The Role of Middle Managers in Progressing Gender Equity in the Public Sector report, led the development of a Leading Practice Guide outlining strategies to increase managers’ capacity to improve workplace gender equity.

These include:

changes to culture and recruiting
greater encouragement of flexible work options
and redefining jobs to make them more suitable for part-time work.

Find out more about the report and its practical ideas for improving gender equity at the ANZSOG website.

ANZSOG stories celebrating the achievements of women:
Sonja Cox

Sonja Cox takes the responsibility of being a public servant extremely seriously.

“I see myself as working for the community so when they’re footing the bill for my salary and my development, then I owe them something, and that’s commitment,” she said.

This philosophy was never more on show than in the two years Sonja spent completing ANZSOG’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA), graduating in 2018. She committed so completely to the program that she was awarded the Dean’s Award for the best overall academic performance across the EMPA subjects.

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Paulleen Markwort

Paulleen Markwort was the first in a family of 10 children to finish high school.

It’s just one milestone in the journey which has led her to a life dedicated to making a difference for vulnerable Aboriginal people.

In 2018, we spoke to Paulleen ahead of NAIDOC Week.

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Stephanie Rowe

Stephanie’s career has spanned science, policy and operational roles. She is now the Director of Compliance Services for the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, where she leads a team of close to 300 frontline officers, investigators and analysts around New Zealand. The team undertakes compliance and enforcement activities relating to animal welfare, fisheries, food safety and biosecurity.

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Amy Thunig

Macquarie University academic Amy Thunig was ‘first in family’ to attend university, and is using her position to disrupt and decolonise formal education, seeking to ensure that pathways are strengthened for Indigenous knowledges, students, and academics.

The Gamilaroi woman’s achievements were recognised at the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards, when she was named as co-winner of the ANZSOG-sponsored Emerging Female Leader in Government or Public Sector.

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Narelle Underwood

Not only is Narelle Underwood the youngest NSW Surveyor-General for 200 years, she is the first woman to hold the position, a major role which is responsible for regulation of the land and mining surveying profession.

She said that surveying was a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) profession with low numbers of women, that needed to have open discussions about diversity to ensure its future.

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