This week I was in Canberra as a mighty dust storm whipped through the nation’s capital; “where the hell did that come from?” a man uttered as I walked past Parliament.
It was an appropriate question for the changing winds occurring inside the building too; for at this moment, a woman was setting the agenda and driving the Government towards a historic defeat over asylum policy.
Regardless of your views about Dr Kerryn Phelps, or whether you agree that critically ill people seeking asylum deserve adequate medical care, (n.b we do, and Verve doesn’t invest in companies profiting from offshore detention), hers was a historic victory we can all learn from.
The lesson, of course, is that this was not just the victory of one woman.
It may be a coincidence that Dr Phelps is a woman, but this week proved everything we know about the importance of networks for women to succeed.
As the images of Dr Phelps celebrating with fellow independents, including: Julia Banks, Rebekha Sharkie, and Cathy McGowan beamed across our screens, I was reminded of research released just this month by the University of California about the importance of networks to men and women. The remarkable finding however, was that as women we don’t just need a broad network, we also need a strong inner circle of women to help navigate through professional structures and systems.
The study findings: 75% of high-ranking women have strong ties to an inner circle of women.
Remarkably, the reason I was in Canberra this week was to attend a round table discussion on women’s economic security with a network of leaders from some of Australia’s most prominent Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) organisations. I was reminded by the power of diversity to strength and enhance any network, but also of the challenges facing many women of CALD background in developing professional networks in Australia -and the subsequent workplace disadvantage experienced.
This week we’ve seen the power of women working together to bring about change. So as a community, let’s take care this month to build, nurture and lean on our own networks to build the lives and world we want. Let’s also take a moment to consider how we can make our private and professional inner circles as diverse as possible. Let’s rise together.
Co-Founder & CEO, Verve Super