Wednesday, 6 May 2015

CEO for a Day - 6 May 2015

Some background on why I asked to be considered to be included in Generation One’s campaign for Indigenous Australians to have a ‘CEO for a day’ experience.

  • The GenerationOne CEO for a Day campaign is aimed at giving all Indigenous people the hope and belief that they too can be a CEO, of any organisation, one day.

It is well out of what would ordinarily be considered a writer’s comfort level.  I spend most days writing in my designated writing space, a short walk down the hallway from the other areas in my house that also from time to time serve as writing areas.  My movements depend on the weather and the time of day, and whether the kids walking to school outside are especially rowdy during the day, or the lowing of the cows in the paddock down the lane are too much of a mournful distraction in the middle of the night.

I was unprepared for just how big the Australian Resorts site is in Melbourne.  It will require a water bottle to get from one side to the other, when later in the day as part of my 'CEO for a day' experience, I take the daily floor walk of operations.

  • "This campaign is a great opportunity to instil in Australia’s mind that in our generation, we can have Indigenous Australians as CEO’s in Australia’s leading corporate companies." 
My mother was the eldest of eighteen children, and I am her eldest child. As the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter, I was raised in an environment of high expectations.

My mother grew up in a dirt-floored home and taught herself to read with a copy of Anne of Green Gables that she secreted within the branches of the tree that sheltered their two roomed home, as a precaution against her precious book falling foul of smaller inquisitive fingers.

I told this story when I accepted the David Unaipon literary award at the Brisbane Writers Festival in 2012 and for days after had many encounters with Festival readers and writers who said among other things that Anne of Green Gables had a special place in their heart too.

  • "We want to rid Australia of the racism of low expectations of Indigenous Australians, and help our young people to grow their aspirations."

We, all of us, connect with stories and can find common ground to share our life experiences but Indigenous Australians have yet to have our potential realized in a fair and just Australian society.

This is why I left the somewhat comfortable zone of thirty years of mostly high pressure Indigenous advocacy and made a career change later than most of the others I regularly meet at gatherings for emerging writers.

I had a belief in my self, which I thank my parents and extended family for nurturing from a young age. 

I can share the simple messages that have been passed down through my family. The importance of educationtake it as far as you can, and self beliefbe prepared to never stop trying, and social justice, it is never too late to make a difference.

When I compare myself to others in my family, I see I have yet to reach the sides of my working life.  My Aunty Evyln who is 83 years old, retired last year after seventy years in the work force.  For most of this time she was caring for other people’s children, including nearly fifty years as a teachers aid at the local primary school in our home town.  I am convinced this is why our tiny town is the only one in the district that was excempt from measures to bring literacy and numeracy levels up to being on par with educational standards.  My town didn’t need it – they were already there.

And my Aunty Yvonne who retired last year having reached 65 years old, with the last 32 years of her forty two years in the workforce spent at the same child care centre in a rural town in Queensland.

  • "Indigenous Australians are working in private sector roles, but more can be done to help lift the number of people working in managerial and executive positions. "

Both of these women started their working lives as domestics, at a time when education was not an option for Aboriginal kids, and twelve year old girls were indentured to station owners as domestics.  My mother also started as a domestic, and then was one of the women who drove cattle across Australia - from Townsville on the Queensland coast, down to Millstream Station in the Pilbara, some four hundred odd kilometres shy of the Western Australian coast.  She went on to work in kitchens and eventually owned her own catering company.  When ill health brought the end of her working life she finally had time to concentrate on her education, and passed away before she was able to complete her degree.  But I don't have the words for how proud I will always be of my mother.

  • "The GenerationOne CEO for a Day campaign is about highlighting the career choices that are available to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians." 

What their lives could have been is what motivates me to remain outside of my comfort zone.

  • "The CEO’s and organisations involved in this campaign have all made commitments under GenerationOne’s Australian Employment Covenant initiative to lift their Indigenous employment rates, and this campaign is a natural fit for the work they are already doing to help create sustainable socio-economic outcomes." 

I am grateful and humbled to be given this experience and excited about the day to come.  I will be sharing some of my day on social media and look forward to keeping the conversation going!

For more information about this campaign, and how you can be a part of breaking the cycle of low expectations please take the time to read the Generation One website here

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

DUFC 84th Edition May 2015

The following submissions cover writing on feminist issues from Australian and New Zealand bloggers, for the 84th edition of the Down Under Feminists' Carnival.

Thanks so much to Rebecca, Stephanie, Scarlett, Deborah and Mary for making submissions.

My approach was straight forward – I read them all. The overlaps in subject matter defeated my attempts to organise them around themes so I decided to collate in order of receipt.


From Hoyden About Town, Anna in the third of a series, writes about Hildegard von Bingen born in 1098 and dying in 1179 at the age of 81 one of the great medieval Christian philosophers. 

Jennifer Wilson from her blog No Place for Sheep writes ‘If you can’t deal with vulnerability you’ve no business being in government’ “They’re “putting it on” is a particularly invidious perspective to take on the vulnerability and distress of others.”

And concludes: 
Apart from anything else, it is profoundly arrogant for anyone to assume or demand that every individual who suffers trauma and/or mental illness reacts to her or his circumstances in the same way. Using some of us as a yardstick by which to judge the others is a game of the privileged and the entitled. Traumatised and mentally ill people do not lose our individuality because of our experiences. We have the right to be who we are, without the burden of the expectations and moral judgements of the “normal” and the “healthy.”
and more from No Place for Sheep on Retribution v Rehabilitation
Prue Goward NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, last week expressed her disgust at prominent community members writing “glowing” character references to avoid a custodial sentence for convicted rapist Luke Lazarus. 

The Hand Mirror on how we tell stories about rape
In 2013, research from the specialist sexual violence sector looking at how the media report on sexual violence in Aotearoa showed some disturbing stuff: journalists do not understand the law and they do not interview experts, with no articles featuring commentary from specialist academics or researchers and just 8% featuring commentary from community experts.

Georgina Dent, editor of Women’s Agenda, reveals The market rate for a stay at home mum? $96,700 a year. and finishes on a question:
Women do an awful lot of work that they’re not paid for. Do we start paying them a fair wage for the work they do or do we share the unpaid load more fairly? 

Lily Munroe posts on Real for Women While men decide what they stand for – We women must become Warriors and quotes from Andrea Dworkin and a link to a short video from Clare Verall who fought back aftern being attacked by an unknown assailant while walking her dog.


Karen Struthers contributed to The Conversation Getting in early to avoid gender stereotyping careers
To counter the impact of gender stereotypes on careers, many educators I’ve spoken to in my research say career-related learning should take place in early primary years. The concern is that by years 8-10 the subject and career choices of students were well and truly gender-segregated.


Jenna Price writing for the SMH Digital Life section,  comments on Periscope, the new live video streaming app:  Social mediatrolls and why Periscope is bad news for women everywhere


Alice Clarke for the Herald Sun Paid surrogacy will work here if we do it with care
WITH the news this week of another Australian couple abandoning a baby overseas, it’s time to talk seriously about surrogacy and law reform.
The James Tiptree Jr. literary prize for science fiction or fantasy published during 2014 that expands or explores our understanding of gender was announced over the Easter weekend.

Mama Said shares why  I cried in a pie shop.   It reminded me of the parts I had forgotten when I tell anyone who will isten, of my time as a mother of a young child, I would do it all again.


Stephanie in The Menzies Era’ drinking game and review review, who reviews the reviews of the 630 page work by former PM John Howard’s book on Menzies.  Each review is rated in numbers of eyebrows (out of a possible five) and drinks.


No place for sheep writes, after hearing a news report from the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Child,  When abuse is just another news story
But what is even more disturbing is the manner in which this disturbing content, like all other disturbing content, is transmogrified from a heartbreaking, terrifying, rage-provoking account of one man’s childhood into nothing more than another news story in a busy news cycle, the majority of which is comprised of disturbing content of one kind or another. In other words, as soon as this disturbing event is reported we move immediately onto something else, as is routine, as is expected in a media-drenched world where news is barely considered interesting unless it’s disturbing. The need of comfortable people for the thrill of vicarious disturbance should never be underestimated.

Peter Dutton obviously doesn’t know what emotional blackmail is. 
Detained asylum seekers have virtually no avenues for legitimately  protesting their situations.

Yassmin in Redefining the Narrative writes about Awesome Women in Formula One
Rampant sexism aside, and despite what the Formula 1 greats (hello, Stirling Moss!) think, women have played significant and influential roles in the sport and continue to do so today.


Stephanie blogging on Teaching the Teacher writes about the vulnerability of teachers Working after hours


Scarlett Harris from The Scarlet Woman in Blood Bonds: The Sisterhood of Menstruation says
The ostracision of periods in polite company and the freak outs that men have when confronted with them mean women only have each other to talk about periods with, creating a bond whether we like it or not.
And more from Scarlett Harris with Women Who Are Unsuccessful with Men ArePresumed Gay.
But it seems that other people have a really hard time accepting that a single woman can be happy with just herself. The amount of times I’ve been questioned with, “But don’t you want to find someone to have kids with and be with for the rest of your life?” are countless; the amount of times I’ve been asked if I’m gay even more so. Because a woman who’s unsuccessful with men must play for the other team, right?


Stephanie Rodgers in a series of collated tweets discusses Why #Ponytailgate is serious business

And On John Key’s “fetish” writes
this response casually erases the commonplace, everyday nature of sexual harassment.


Left Hand Story writes Mr Collins, Mr Key and refusing to hear “No” comparing Mr Collins from Pride and Prejudice and the New Zealand PM John Key.

and also from The Hand Mirror,  Julie writes Power and ponytails “ongoing unfolding issue about the Prime Minister's ponytail pulling”.


The Conservationalist writes We’re not so different: vulnerability and #gamergate and asks
What is it about vulnerability that is so frightening to our society, that we fear the sharing of, the revelation of our vulnerability? What is it that has our hearing, our speaking, our listening slide over vulnerability as though some social faux pas has been committed? What is it about vulnerability that renders it invisible except in some circumstances where sharing and expressing vulnerability is signalled as okay? 

Tracy Spicer in The Hoopla responds to a Women's Weekly article with Memo: Margie Abbott is more than her waistline


To find out more about the Down Under Feminists' Carnival and how to volunteer please find the link here