Tag Archives: equity

Visibility and Invisibility 2022 #17

Our dreams start out invisible. This is inevitable. A few thoughts floating around in our head like butterflies, that we try and capture, which is often, just like butterflies, hard to do. It requires patience, observation, and stillness. Dreams maybe visible when we sleep, some clever unfolding and prompting in our unconscious selves trying to bring something to the surface. Thoughts take shape with images, sounds, colour, emotions. Maybe you have recurrent dreams that haunt or tease you. But these are not the dreams I am really thinking about. I am thinking about the dreams that we want to make visible, the kind of dream Martin Luther King had of liberation, or the dream aspirants have of being elected, or winning a prize and through discipline and talent aim to make their dreams come true.

I am dreaming of ways in which we can all level up and bring more equity to decision-making. It is one of the reasons I support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the inherent result of Voice Treaty Truth and a First Nations presence in our national parliament. This dream will be informing my vote at the next Federal election. I cannot and will not support any political party or candidate that does not embrace the Uluru Statement. The current government’s parties commissioned the statement’s creation and all the consultation far and wide and then on presentation rejected it. It was yet another dark day in our nation … but it is not a dream that can be held hostage … it is one that is released for all of us to embrace. It is one we need to honour. It is an act of equity and justice. First, we have to hear the voice, which is why parliamentary representation is central; then we have to have a just settlement, a covenant, treaties and then we will be in a position to hear and receive the truth.  The Uluru Statement is the culmination of what was an Indigenous Constitutional Convention – constitutional change is non- negotiable.

If the Voice part of the Uluru sequence invokes the realm of politics and the Treaty part conjures the world of law, then the Truth part aligns most closely with the domain of historyKate Fullagar

Getting to equity recognises we do not all start from the same place, and adjustments are needed to address the imbalances. That is why separate First Nations voices to parliament is an equity issue for me. We must address the imbalances in our legislation and only legislators can pass those laws, and laws get passed in Parliament.  Thomas Mayor’s words to his then seven-year-old son William, who put his hand on this heart and said, “the heart of the nation is in here.”  This is our work now as we head into the historic election in which only one major party is agreeing to follow through on the Uluru Statement and offer a referendum to the Australian people for a substantive, not symbolic, constitutional recognition to constitutionally enshrine First Nations Voice – nothing less will suffice for this dream to become visible. For right now, we are living a lie, and in a nightmare for our First Nations.  If the place you work for supports the Uluru Statement, if you have shares in companies that have signed their support, if you have signed up to the Statement – the time to mark your ballot in favour of the Uluru Statement and make this dream visible, is on the horizon.

Put your hand on you heart, feel the beat, breath in through your feet on the land, feel the pulse of our shared home. The Voice proposal is quite conservative, and the talents and ingenuity of leaders like Megan Davis with expert constitutional knowledge, have the proposal in the Uluru Statement as the simple premise of a First Nations representative body, with its primary function to present the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the Parliament where decisions are made about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Nothing more and nothing less.  Let us vote for equity. For dreams and for dreaming our way to justice. For visibility of the invisible heart of our nation.

6 September 2019, Logan, Qld. Guest of Logan Together listening to Megan Davis and learning more about the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Promises to tomorrow #36 #Equity

I am living in multiple liminal spaces. There are comings and goings all around me. The call and response to move and to be still. The ever present need to have feet firmly planted.  This space is a threshold to reflect on the now and bring a promise to tomorrow from the now.  In these in-between times my other lives continue to unfold. Relationships don’t fall away, work commitments wane. Invitations for change-making and sharing ideas bubble on through the cracks.  Switching between midwifery to new ventures in the public domain to midwifery of another kind in the private.  So for today’s post I am sharing my response to a call to contribute in the public domain. In marketing terms this might be thought of a cross promotion, but it is an endeavour to bring all of me to all of the liminal spaces in my life and so why not on these pages too?

I first got introduced to equity as a model of growth by Dr Michael McAfee of PolicyLink.  This week I am going to be talking about a movement I have founded.  Here is what I am planning to say. I am using my five minutes for speculative fiction.

Date: September 2027 Headline: SA achieves another first

South Australia has become the first place in the world to reach 50% of investment, and return on that investment, going to women. Ten years ago SA set a 50:50 target – gender equity in investment for women in startups and social enterprises.

The levers used to get this result included: changes in procurement policies, education to get more girls into STEM and coding, capital – from venture capital to impact investing – setting their own gender targets, more women in board rooms and around the cabinet table.

Industry leaders, local and State government, set the foundations for early wins by all signing the panel pledge for gender balance at their conferences and events. Councils and State entities added it as a criteria in tender documents for global conventions wanting to use their venues. After all: “if you can’t see it you can’t be it”. Having women visible, publicly acclaimed, out front, all the time, no exceptions, made an impact and is now the norm.

The State Procurement Board set targets for social enterprises, BCorps and co-ops to win contracts. It was amazing how quickly business adjusted, eager to showcase their capabilities & gender credentials as part of their transition to the on purpose economy.

A little tougher, but achieved, was getting more women onto the runway for startups. Startmate and Techstars were early adopters and got 50% women into their second and third South Australian rounds. While the research showed in 2017 you only needed half as much investment in female founded startups to double your money, up until then no-one had cracked the code on how to make it happen.

There were collaborations between startups and social enterprises that ignited change at scale. From nanotechnology for monitoring the well-being of remote populations through to home kitchens creating nutritional meals for people with disabilities and their carers – these ideas started here – with women and with investment. Digitising the “blue book” by pairing it with SA’s world class Datalink, built and transferred knowledge about child development, established real time data and brought agile funding and resource delivery, when and where it was needed most. Consequently, SA became famous for its non-invasive early intervention approach to child protection.

The gender pay gap was always lowest in South Australia and the Equal Opportunity Commissioner was able to point to the Google 2017 class action to help spur on the tech and creative industries who had always lagged behind. SA reached gender wage parity in 2025 and despite a few laggers, leaders pointed to the economic truth: diversity equals dollars and gender was a no brainer, truly low hanging fruit.

There are still some sticking points in the eco-system: In 2017 there were 4% of women in venture capital it is now 15%. The number of women CEOs in start ups hasn’t shifted from 30% since 2022, and the number of women academics researching and growing graduates for the on purpose economy continues to oscillate around 35 – 40% – while there is plenty to celebrate in 2027 we ain’t there yet!

If you want to know more about how SA got these results, look around the town for VR clips embedded in the landscape telling stories of women innovators and entrepreneurs. Tap any leader – male or female – and ask them how they got involved and what they did to contribute. It has been a collective effort fuelled by passion, good ideas, imagination, wisdom – trading in trust, built on relationships and in a spirit of generosity, fostered by women and men who wanted to unlock and unleash the potential of South Australia.

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SA has been the home of many first’s for women that then went global or national – first in Australia for women to get the vote, first in the Westminster system for women to earn the right to stand for Parliament, first State to have a female Supreme Court Judge and first woman governor, SA was first state to have secondary school for girls, University of Adelaide was first in Australia to accept women students, first place for a woman police officer in the British empire, first hospital for mothers and babies in Australia, first woman elected to local government, first sex discrimination act in Australia, first place in the Commonwealth to legislate against rape in marriage. We had the first women wharfies, the first woman fork-lift driver, and the first woman Ombudsman.

And what have I got to do with all of this? I am the founder of Chooks. Chooks is emerging as an independent intermediary– building connections online and face to face, change-making through advocacy, policy advice and collaborations to nurture the transition to a profitable on purpose economy and a meaningful on purpose community. We are leaving behind single definition problems and linear solutions to appreciating complexity and working at systems level by using the levers that already exist or getting some out of the way and making new ones.

Launched in May this year as a humble self- organising closed facebook group of 100. This week we have reached 600, clearly a need being filled. Chooks is rooted in our history and our potential. It is unapologetically South Australian. Chooks is not a lab, an incubator, an investor. Chooks is a movement, leading, driving and striving for inclusive entrepreneurship.

Like all movements Chooks converges culture, activism and knowledge.

If you share the desire for equity as a model for growth and want to apply a gender lens to get there, you are invited to join us.

Copy of Strut Your Stuff

Dancing with Speeches #9 Stella Young

Stella Young was a national broadcaster, teacher, advocate for human rights and very funny. She died at 32 from a suspected aneurysm. Her TEDx talk : I’m not your inspiration, was a speech about objectifying people with disabilities.

Objectification is all around us, and it could well be the source of some of the deepest experiences of alienation and de-humanising. It is the reason pornography is an epidemic. It is the reason child abuse is in our courts day after day. Young said it best, when she called inspirational posters of people with disabilities doing ordinary things like throwing a ball or swimming in the ocean was objectifying and was really inspirational porn, and no amount of changing attitudes towards people with disabilities was going to bring a ramp to a building!

I have had some amazing teachers in the anti-objectifying movement, some of them did it in wheelchairs, para Olympian, administrator, grant maker and mum Libby Kosmala and arts patron and administrator, adviser to architects, builders and developers, dad and grandfather, Richard Llewellyn. I learned such a lot about building access and building codes from Richard, the quality of toilets, access to public spaces and turning up to all the conversations. One of my first encounters with Richard was when I drove him to a meeting, and after using a very cool hoist attached to the government car, we got to the meeting in the city and had to park around the back of the building, I them had to move rubbish and rubbish bins to access the only entrance of the building a wheelchair could get in. He was a very senior public servant, and the only one who turned up to the meeting through the tradesman’s entrance. I was in my early twenties and that day I got a great lesson in what access really means. It is practical not attitudinal, it is the subject not the object in a sentence. We worked on all sorts of access issues over many years and I refused to talk about access as a disability issue – access is access, equity is equity. (I used to have a cartoon of a battalion of daleks, those mythical invasion beings created by Terry Nation, from Dr Who arriving at a planet where every building is equipped with a set of stairs. Confronted by this phenomena the daleks recognize the stairs undoes their plans to take over the planet.)

Access all areas, to end objectification will require more than stairs being removed, we need ramps to the hearts and minds. Ironically Stella Young’s ABC show was called Ramp Up. She died not long after the show was axed by the ABC, and I have often wondered if it might have broken her heart and been a cause of her early and unexpected death. An attitude code can’t be legislated for (as MLK taught us) but we can get the buildings right, the books with braille, voice activated instructions and new technologies are happening every day. Young’s preference was for use of the term disabled people (people not enabled), while Lllewellyn’s preference was people with disabilities (people before disability) – both work for me and reflects the generational difference between the two advocates. By the time Stella was working in a classroom, broadcasting and entertaining us with her sharp and dry wit, many of the barriers Richard had in his lifetime were no longer there. But there certainly weren’t and aren’t all gone and inspirational porn is not a new frontier, but is one of the last.

It is not only disabled people who experience this, the poor self-made achiever is sometimes held up for having achieved when equity is a right for everyone. The refugee who has made good is seen as the exceptional individual who has overcome a challenge. Surely this is another form of objectification – the human right issue of safety, participation, asylum shouldn’t be down to an individual’s capacity to deal with smugglers, high seas, war, torture – these are all human rights. And what about the person who overcomes through their own efforts and a few odd and possibly random events to make their millions or rise to the highest levels of education and attainment being held up as special – surely the human rights to a roof over your head, food and an education – are for everyone.

Get out the building code for your heart and work out what needs to be changed in the system that is getting in the way of access and equity. Turning people into objects, numbs us and dumbs us down. Objectification is a dis-ease and inoculation starts with a big dose of access and equity.

StellaYoung-619-386