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International Women’s Day 2021

District on way to reaching leadership targets.

Woman facing camera for a headshot photo
SydneyConnect Image: Victoria Weekes

Victoria Weekes is a long-time advocate for gender equality.

“It’s a focus of mine. And, it’s a lens through which I’ve viewed many things throughout my Board career,” she said.

Ms Weekes is Sydney Local Health District’s Acting Chair of the Board, following Ron Phillips’ resignation following 10 years in the role. She joined the Board in 2011.

She’s a professional non-executive director with over 30 years’ executive experience and is a member of several other Boards.

She’s also a founding director, and inaugural chair, of the Australian Gender Equality Council – a peak body representing not for profit non-government organisations dedicated to achieving gender equality.

Today, the District is marking International Women’s Day. This year, the theme is #ChooseToChallenge – A challenged world is an alert world. And, from challenge comes change.

“It’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day and to reflect on what’s been achieved and what we need to do next, but also to remember that action for gender equality continues during the rest of the year,” Ms Weekes said.

Research shows gender equality in the workplace, especially in leadership roles, is key to an organisation’s success. Six of the District’s 10 Board members are women.

“An effective Board comprises of a mix of people who bring a diversity of skills, experience and insights to the table. It’s beneficial – teams work better and there’s a range a perspectives which result in better outcomes,” Ms Weekes said.

Led by Dr Teresa Anderson AM, the District is well on the way to meeting a state wide target for 50 per cent of senior leadership positions in the New South Wales public sector to be held by women by 2025.

The latest data shows that already women hold more than 40 per cent of senior leadership roles across the District.

“All workplaces need to consider the structure and systems under which they operate, how to implement strategies and policies to drive change and evaluate how those changes make a difference to gender equality,” Ms Weekes said.

Individuals can take action too.

“Women should consider developing a career business plan that sets out their goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Be prepared to take risks, be open to new opportunities, recognise challenges and ask for help to overcome them,” Ms Weekes said.