International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 is this Monday 8 March. The UN Women’s theme for this year is Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. A bit of a mouthful really, but on topic and incredibly important.
Some of the most vital roles keeping the wider community on its feet at the moment are teachers and nurses; two professions predominantly taken on by women. And two professions common across our membership and volunteer base.
Women in leadership is certainly not a foreign concept for LSC&PH. Excellent women have been at the heart of the organisation even before programs existed for them! Jump ahead to today and women are running our camps, developing programs specifically for the women of our community, doing our administration, sitting on our Board and even taking on the President and Camp Chief gig. Amidst COVID-19, LSC&PH women are amongst those adapting our organisation and its programs with optimism, creativity and a determination to continue serving others.
This week, we caught up with two great LSC&PH ladies – Bec Bates and Cassandra Quinlan – to chat about what they do, why they love LSC&PH and what IWD means to them.
Tell us what you do in the real world?
Bec: I live, work and play on Gunibidji Country in Maningrida, Arnhem Land. I work for local government as a Wellbeing Services Coordinator, managing a team of people who run super fun sport and recreational programs for youth. I am also studying my Masters of Public Health by correspondence at Charles Darwin University. I have the privilege of volunteering for some truly amazing organisations… I do some Comms/Marketing work with The Water Well Project (health promotion charity who aim to improve health literacy for refugee and or asylum seeker communities) and I help out with the CassangaFund (think – women and adventure sports advocacy) a bit too. When I’m not doing those things I’m listening to the same five songs on repeat, snapping Instagram worthy sunsets and walking my doggo Archie.
Cassandra: I am a proud mother of two beautiful boys, Riley (19) and Grayson (16), and living next to my mother (Mother Mary) has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. This has meant the kids have the most incredible bond with her and we support each other. I have spent most of my career in Not for Profit working in both the Disability Sector, and Refugee and Asylum Seeker Sector, however the past 4 years I have moved to the private sector. I am currently working for Programmed in recruitment as an Account Manager, I currently manage 17 businesses and around 300 casuals across those sites. It is a busy job but rewarding.
What have you been up to recently in the LSC&PH space?
Cassandra: What an amazing effort it has been for LSC&PH these past 12 months to continue with the work they do and adapt. With ATLAS I am one of the Participant Coordinators, and during the year we did a joint project with one of our partner organisations SECL around resume writing and how to apply for a job. This online forum for participants and their family members was such a successful event that SECL has asked for us to return! I am also a part of the Inclusion Committee, headed up by the incredible Matthew Parker, and moving full steam ahead with work being completed on achieving a Rainbow Tick, and I am thrilled to say I am a part of such an important step.
Bec: I am super lucky to work with the Journal team as the Editor, which means I get to read the wholesome LSC&PH content first, what an absolute treat. I have recently joined the Child Safety Committee and look forward to learning a lot from other impressive humans on the Committee. I have recently been advocating to bring ‘Meet a Member Mondays’ back and am taking this on as a fun project. If someone would like to reach out to give me a hand, I would love that! In these COVID-safe times, let’s stay connected by ‘meeting’ each other virtually and enjoying some good fellowship.
What does the IWD theme this year mean to you? What’s the value you see in it? Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world
Bec: I was re-deployed to the frontline at the Alfred during the height of the pandemic in Melbourne before escaping to the sunny NT. The women who make up Ward 4EA were incredibly strong, resilient and tireless in their efforts to provide compassionate care to their patients amidst all of the anxiety. I think 2021’s IWD theme is about taking the time to consult more female frontline workers about how to navigate the COVID-19 world and to amplify their voices. In my current world, domestic violence is incredibly prominent. I am privileged as a Balanda to sit at the back of community meetings and hear strong women call for action and change. Again, the IWD theme highlights the need for more consultation of strong women in our social circles/tribes/workplaces/communities.
Cassandra: #ChooseToChallenge, raising awareness of gender bias and inequality. Standing up to challenge can always be difficult, and often the behaviours of others become such a normal part of society that we don’t even realise it has happened. The theme means making a difference when and where you can, big or small. Something that has been a keen focus of mine recently is uniforms, whether it be at work, school or volunteering, people need to be accepted for who they are, they need to feel comfortable in themselves. We need to not judge people on how they appear, what we wear does not impact who we are as a person.
What is your go-to content when it comes to feeling the #YeahTheGirls vibe? Is this a podcast, song, movie, book, resource?
Bec: Musically, some incredible Indigenous women are: Emily Wurramara, Miiesha & Ripple Effect Band
Podcasts: Ologies with Alie Ward for some fun science chit chats or Shameless for the pop culture hit
Books: Marlee Silver’s ‘My Tidda, My Sister’, Sarah Wilson’s ‘This One Wild & Precious Life’ & Rupi Kaur’s ‘The Sun & Her Flowers’
Cassandra: My best friend Tiffany Johnson has spoken at Lady Somers Camp about her book ‘Brave enough now’, which also has an incredible podcast. What is great about Tiffany is she is an independent business woman, who is passionate about supporting other women to find their voice. The Podcast is called ‘When we are BRAVE’, the series is all about helping people to feel inspired, it includes tips and tricks with actionable tools to help people move forward, living your bravest life. I highly recommend you check it out.
Keen to get involved in #IWD2021? Join our friends at Little Dreamers this Thursday as they celebrate strong women for International Women’s Day: