In conversation with GLP Convenor, Susanne Moore

As the numbers rolled in from the latest election, it became clear that this was not a year for women in power.

Despite the leaps our national politicians took in electing a diverse crop of new MPs, from our first Indigenous woman in the House to a record six openly gay representatives, women now figure at one of the lowest levels of representation in the Federal Parliament in years, down five on the Government benches since 2013.

Why aren’t women attracted to roles of power?

“It’s just too hard,” says Susanne Moore, head of the Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation and Convenor of the GLP Colloquium and Think Tank, Global Perspectives on Gender Economics, one of my personal favourites. Susanne has worked in corporate and consulting positions across Australia, runs her own business, and has worked hard to change the hierarchies and structures that sought to keep her down. These structures, legislative, corporate or legal, weren’t built for women. Politically, “women argue for their own inequality… this is a classic example of gender economics, [as] politics is not a space that is designed for us… it is designed by and for man, not men.” The political field is important, as it is the primary way that power is distributed in society, and reflected in corporate life also. “The way these organisations implement change” says Susanne, “is through democracy, it’s a collaborative effort, once people start to understand democracy and that ‘I’ve got a voice, and I can speak,’ then things start to happen.”

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Innovative Leaders Series: Student Ambassadors react to Session 2 Speaker Audette Exel

“Every life we’ve been involved with or touched is important to me.”

-Audette Exel-

One might say that GLP’s Innovative Leader for Session 2, Audette Exel’s approach to her work with The Adara Group is underpinned by a very simple, universal philosophy: treat every life as important. Look again, and you see that embodied in this simple statement is a vision that is all-encompassing. For Audette, treating every life as important is about support. It’s about enabling access to health, education, child well-being, maternal healthcare. It’s about empowerment, respect and dignity and the right to be independent.

In Audette’s case, it’s not just a vision that has managed to touch the lives of more than 100,000 people. The very foundational basis for The Adara Group, and the essence of the GLP’s Innovative Leaders Series is that inspiration and vision, combined with engagement and action, are the mechanisms for achieving lasting, sustainable change.

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Audette at the Kiwoko Hospital neonatal intensive care unit in Uganda. The Unit was funded and built by the Adara Group.

We asked our GLP Ambassadors what they found most inspiring about our Innovative Leader, Audette.

Read on to find out:

What do you find most inspiring about Audette’s journey?

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Aditi, Bachelor of Environment: Audette really challenges the ideas people have about finance and profit, and it’s interesting how she uses both to empower communities in poverty rather than using them for her own personal luxuries.

fauzanFauzan, Bachelor of Applied Finance: I feel as if I have truly found the perfect career inspiration, someone from whom I can truly gain unimaginably helpful career and personal advice on how to go on a similar journey. As a student of applied finance, I wish to gain insight into how a finance professional used her skills and knowledge of the industry to take steps and finally succeed in bringing change to the lives of many.

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Hana, Bachelor of Arts with Bachelor of Commerce:  I am most inspired by Audette’s ability to use her experiences to face a range of challenges, such as domestic and global barriers, to establish the Adara Group and tap into villages and communities that are in dire need.

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Ivana, Bachelor of Law with Bachelor of International Studies: The most inspiring thing for me is seeing a woman educated in law apply her skills to empower those who are not as fortunate. This is one of the most empowering and selfless things a person could achieve in their lifetime; equipped with the power of a degree they were lucky enough to receive.

 

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Audette with Adara’s Uganda Program Manager

If you could ask Audette Exel one question, what would it be?

Aditi: What have you found to be the most rewarding component of working with communities that are struggling financially?

Fauzan: What challenges did you face in reaching this pinnacle in your career, and how did you overcome those challenges? What would you have done differently?

Hana: It is clear that you are extremely resilient and determined in fighting for equality and making a change. What would be your biggest piece of advice, for students like us, facing similar challenges in an attempt to help improve others’ lives in the global community?

Ivana: What was the most challenging part of leaving your former job and establishing Adara? Was it a success from the start?

Audette Exel will be the speaker at our Innovative Leaders Series event on the evening of Wednesday 28 September. 

The Innovative Leaders Series brings students from across the GLP together to hear from  innovators who have developed their ideas into means for catalysing positive social change. The Innovative Leaders Series is a keynote event function incorporating a Q &A session with our Innovative Leader, as well as a networking component. The GLP’s Innovative Leaders Series is run in the mid-Session break of both Session 1 and Session 2 and held on the Macquarie campus. 

Check your emails for more details on the event and how to register or, if you are a current GLP student, register on Thrive.

In conversation with GLP Convenor, Dr Sara Fuller

Through my ambassadorship with the Global Leadership Program, I was granted the opportunity to interview Dr Sara Fuller from the MQ Department of Geography and Planning and Convenor of the GLP Colloquium, A Global Perspective on Climate Justice.

Sara’s research explores concepts and practices of justice and democracy in the context of global environmental change with a focus on the role of non-governmental organisations and communities in enacting a low carbon transition. Sara highlighted the focus of her work as, “looking at inequalities in and around the environment and connecting those to humans – so not just looking at the environment in isolation.

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Dr Sara Fuller, Vientiane Laos

The environment is often considered a voiceless stakeholder. Although humanity depends on a healthy environment to thrive on, the environment is often taken for granted and mistreated for its resources. I asked Sara about the relationship between justice, democracy and the environment and found that the answer isn’t a simple one.

Referring to my idea of the environment being a voiceless stakeholder, Sara said; “In some ways it is, in some ways, it isn’t. It’s voiceless to one degree, where we try to push it to one side and manage it with technology. But on the other hand, it’s not voiceless because it has a clear impact and we see the impact of that everyday.” This comment struck me, like lightning. The environment does have a voice and it is now speaking up. Through record temperatures, occurrences of natural disasters and extinctions, it is trying to tell us something. Climate change is happening, and we, as future leaders, have the opportunity to do something about it.

Speaking of persons and stakeholders that have no voice, Sara highlighted the significance of giving a voice to future generations; “Future generations have no rights in a legal sense; thus intergenerational justice is another important concern.” You may feel overwhelmed by all of this – I know I often do. The question is how do we apply democratic principles in order to protect what we have and conserve it for the future? Sara advocated for ‘collective action.’ “By collectively organising and managing workloads, this doesn’t only prevent the same people from burning out; it validates your own views by putting them into action and allows you to influence policy through the power of collective action.” We can achieve a lot more if we act together.

On a final note I asked Sara; what would you say to your university self and to a university student now?

You can be strategic, but you can’t plan what’s going to happen in your life. Be open to opportunity and follow through with those opportunities.

Thank you so much Sara, your time and insight is so valuable to me and I hope other students can also take something away from this.

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Written by Ashley Avci (pictured above).

Ashley was our Session 1, 2016 GLP Student Ambassador. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Environmental Science with a Bachelor of Laws and began the Global Leadership Program at the start of 2013. Ashley also founded her own not-for-profit ‘Fin Free Sydney’, raising awareness about the impacts of shark finning. 

For further information, Sara suggested watching Naomi Klein’s ‘Capitalism and the Climate’ at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2015.

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Ashley’s interview with Dr Sara Fuller is part of a new blog series to give you a better insight into our GLP Convenors and their Colloquium and Think Tank topics. We asked our GLP Student Ambassadors to interview a Convenor on their area of expertise – what inspires them, what makes them tick and what advice they would give GLP young leaders.

Dr Sara Fuller’s Colloquium, A Global Perspective on Climate Justice, will be running on Wednesday 5 October, 2pm – 5pm. Register on Thrive (undergraduates  and study abroad/exchange students only).