This is in line with goals expressed in the broader union movement and succession planning, looking towards the future of our movement and of the IEUA. With women making up around 70% of our membership, the goal is for the IEUA leadership profile to reflect this by connecting women with professional development opportunities and activities. This was the birth of the program IEUA BOLD: Building Our Leadership Development.
What is leadership?
Leadership is the capacity to integrate, motivate and mobilise others. It is not simply positional. It is behavioural. Women can be leaders in different aspects of their lives. Women are leaders in our Union structures, in schools and in our communities. They are leaders in both their personal and professional lives. Drawing on the feedback from the conference and from the survey, the IEUA developed a BOLD Program to assist women in recognising and developing their leadership skills and further enhancing these abilities. Standing together, women can support each other to be bold leaders.
Women and leadership conference
A national conference was held in Canberra in March 2017 bringing together over 100 IEUA women from across the country. Participants focused on exploring the knowledge and skills needed to exercise leadership at various levels of union engagement – workplace, community and beyond.
As well as hearing from several significant political, social and union female leaders, participants were able to discuss strategies which will champion women in leadership and develop BOLD ideas, BOLD actions and BOLD steps. Here is what some of the participants said about the conference:
“I was reminded you don’t need to be at the top to lead; a leader can be wherever you are and whatever you do. Such sound advice!”
“From a number of speakers the message was clear: take the initiative, be active in what you do wherever you are.”
“I was reminded that leadership is not about simply a title or a position. It is
“I am even more impassioned about finding the next generation of young women to get involved.”
“At the beginning I felt like an imposter being there, like I was not the right person to attend. By the end of the conference I felt like there was a reason for all of us to be there.”
Women in leadership survey
In conjunction with the conference a survey was also conducted last year to find out what IEUA women want and need to be BOLD. Here are some of the things they said they want:
- mentoring programs
- recruitment plans for getting more women members
- targeted PD for women in our workplaces
- IEUA women’s committees
- personal development plans
- a women’s charter for our Union
- improved representation of women in our Union structures, and
- women’s progress groups in our workplaces.