Working to change the face of leadership

5 March 2021

Ashleigh Streeter-Jones (MDipl '18) is incredibly passionate about diversity in public decision making. A writer, speaker and activist, she believes women and persons of all genders deserve a seat at every table where decisions are being made.

When you think of diversity in leadership, it's important to ask who's at the table, who's not, and how you can get them there,

says Ashleigh.

Her training program Raise Our Voice Australia works to boost the presence of young female and non-binary voices in public decision making. She is also an active member of the Canberra hub of The Global Shapers Community, a group of young Canberrans drawn together by their commitment to improving communities.

As an advocate for youth and gender equality, she was selected as one of 50 global young leaders to attend Davos at the World Economic Forum virtually in January 2021.

"It was such a privilege to sit in virtual discussions with the world's most prominent leaders on the creation of a post-COVID world," says Ashleigh. "I look forward to implementing my learnings through the Canberra Global Shapers hub and Raise Our Voice Australia."

Ashleigh says systemic sexism is the biggest hurdle women face today in reaching gender equality.

"As long as we continue to uphold systems that fail to see women as leaders, which punish women for self-advocacy and which continue to see issues like childcare and gender equality solely as 'women's issues' -and therefore, niche issues - then we won't see a significant change."

"And all of these issues are further compounded for women of colour, First Nations women, women with disabilities, trans women, women who identify as being LGBTQIA and those who are gender diverse."

"We need systemic change - we need to challenge systems which still assume the masculine is the default."

Ashleigh says her time at ANU taught her the importance of open and non-judgemental discourse. Her advice to students and recent graduates is to keep an open mind and to keep listening.

"Take opportunities! The best opportunities I've been given have been the ones I didn't anticipate. The other piece of advice I'd give is to listen, particularly to experiences outside your own, and never stop learning."

She shares her mantra for advocating diversity in leadership

"It can be something as simple as emailing an event organiser and letting them know that they need to do better with diversity in their speaker line up. If you're someone who participates in speaking or panels, make your participation contingent on diversity - use your platform, and share your spaces. Support diverse leaders, and work to change the face of leadership."

So who does Ashleigh look up to as a role model?

"Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa. She is incredible!"

Join Ashleigh during the 2021 ANU Alumni Week as she moderates the panel discussion, ANU Women's Alumni Network presents 'Women Lead'.

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