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Women Leaders As Role Models – Jennifer Oaten

Women Leaders As Role Models – Jennifer Oaten

Which of these three stories resonates with you or with your daughter?

Senator Kamala Harris has been selected by Joe Biden this week to join his running ticket for the US presidency. She is the third woman to run for vice president of a major party, and the first black woman to do so. She is a former prosecutor and the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants.

Bridget Loudon has been appointed this week to the Telstra board. Bridget, the founder of Expert360, has become the youngest independent director of an ASX top 200 company after joining the Telstra board. She is an entrepreneur, who founded an employment company and is 32, making her decades younger than most directors of ASX-listed companies and 23 years younger than the previous youngest Telstra board member.

Christina Koch recently returned from the International Space Station after a total of 328 days in space – the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Along with colleague Jessica Meir, Koch had also participated in an all-female spacewalk in 2019. NASA is preparing to send the first woman to the moon in 2024.

Each of these women are wonderful role models for our girls for different reasons

It is well known that the influence of a mother, the independence, strength and leadership skills she models, is one of the most influential factors in the development of these skills in girls. Many others may be role models; sisters, friends, family members and other significant adults. Strong role models can be older women, skilled athletes, coaches, community leaders, successful business people, celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, or any strong woman whose presence will resonate with girls. Who is your daughter’s role model?

Our girls are exposed to both positive and negative female role models every day, for example, a strong mother who stands up against domestic abuse or a female celebrity who uses her appearance to be popular. All of these people affect how our girls view their own potential. These are the people girls use as references for whom they will become and whose behaviour and leadership they will emulate.

A girl needs to see confidence, leadership and accomplishment in other women in order to envision herself with those qualities. Successful women can be inspiring in demonstrating that success is attainable.

Brave, committed and capable are all words that I would use to describe our Year 11 students who this week prepared and delivered a speech to an audience of staff and peers as part of the process to become elected to the Student Leadership Council for 2021. They are aspiring leaders, all who have leadership strengths and great potential to be successful leaders.

We must always remember that just because a person is successful does not mean they are a worthy role model. We want our girls to be confident leaders who accomplish much, but we also want our girls to maintain their values and to stand by what is important to them. This is the key to success. It is who you are as a person, not what you have achieved that is important.

We acknowledge all females in our community who have been role models to young women over the years and given them the confidence to change lives, theirs and others, for the better. It’s no secret that women could run the world, but all this is just proof of how strong, smart, and talented women are, especially when given a chance.

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