Regional WA tops gender parity | Weekly farm
REGIONAL Western Australia appears to be ahead of the city in terms of gender parity at senior levels of leadership in areas such as politics and local government.
That’s according to a report released by the Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network (RRR), titled “Women’s Leadership in Rural and Remote Western Australia”.
Funded by the Ministry of Communities, the report is the result of work carried out in the Women’s Voices Forums in 2019 and found that working at the local level in RRR communities is important to strengthen the skills and experience of women in order to ‘Get paid work in community development and leadership roles in local government or politics.
RRR Network Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kendall Galbraith wrote that the Women’s Voices forums highlighted the disconnect between regional women and leadership, which encouraged the organization to explore further.
“Having women in leadership positions and therefore involved in high-level decision-making can, for example, support cultural change, provide role models for future generations and expand possibilities for flexible working arrangements,” said Mrs. Galbraith.
“To support the advancement of gender equality, there needs to be a greater focus on women advancing to leadership positions – where leadership is defined as when a person is generally paid and is able to contribute. high level decision making. “
Ms Galbraith said there are also many women who are not paid for their roles but are still exceptional and valued members of the community.
“Their social engagement and guidance enables others to overcome difficulties or realize their potential,” she said.
With this in mind, this report has addressed RRR leadership in both paid and unpaid roles by understanding the stories of women and men in regional, metropolitan and community leadership roles.
Although respondents come from a variety of industries, the report identified three key themes that emerged:
p Regions have offered women increased opportunities to become paid leaders;
p Pathways to leadership for women were dynamic and unpredictable;
p The difference between a community and a paid leader was very small.
Local government was identified as an interesting avenue for exploring regional leadership, as it provided consistent high-level leadership in regions, regardless of population size.
The RRR network found that of the 145 CEOs of local governments, only 21 (14.5%) were women, but there was a higher percentage of women as councilors at almost 43.8%.
And of the 21 county CEOs, 16 (76%) were regional women.
“So why are the women who are at the highest level of local government, 76% of them based in the regions?” asked the report.
A key explanation was that female county CEOs tend to come from a background where community development is involved, and community development is a staple for women in the region, so when the opportunity arises, they have to. trust to build on their reputation and experience in the community.
Although volunteers, in community development roles they learn a range of skills that can lead to positions like a community development officer, CEO or politician.
The RRR network interviewed 100 regional RRR women and found that they worked an average of 5.9 hours per week in the informal service.
Politics is also presented as an important route for women to leadership.
Since the recent state elections, 28 of the 59 seats in the Legislative Assembly are held by women and 10 of these 28 seats (35%) are women from the regions.
In addition, of the 59 seats, 14 are regional seats, of which 10 are women, which means that 71% of regional seats are held by women.
The report identified common qualities among the executives surveyed in that “they all exhibit characteristics that inspire others with a common goal,” whether running a multi-million dollar business, an administration local or volunteering for a small organization.
Leaders referred to qualities such as empathy, resilience, integrity, courage and humility, rather than words like “effective governance”, “strategic negotiations” or “stakeholder management”.
At least half of renowned leaders said technical competence was not necessarily a prerequisite for such roles.
The report stated that the main recommendation addressed to the Ministry of Communities was “to investigate and implement programs for women in RRR communities that aim to develop skills in the practice of effective volunteering where resources are limited, to learn to manage relationships with small communities in the context of volunteering find a balance between staff and community and create paid pathways for women through community and volunteering ”.