Celebrating Women in Leadership this International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2021

Today ACA joins the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. This year’s global UN Women theme, is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” This theme celebrates the tremendous efforts of people around the world in shaping a more equal future.

According to UN Women Australia, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the disproportionate burdens that women carry and the centrality of women’s contributions to decision making. Across the globe, women are leading organisations and institutions carrying out effective and inclusive COVID-19 responses. Women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table, and make invaluable contributions to decisions, policies and laws for all.

However, this is unfortunately not reflected in leadership roles within some of Australia’s biggest companies with just 17.1% of CEOs and 14.1% of board chair positions held by women, and in 2020, only 25 CEOs appointed to the ASX 200 organisations were women.

Advancing women in leadership is central to an organisation’s longevity, diversity and outreach. At the ACA, we strive to create as much equal opportunity for women in the profession to take on leadership roles and feel supported doing so. That is why this year’s theme has never been more relevant to women within the profession.

Chair of the ACA Women in Chiropractic (WIC) group, Dr Paula Stacey-Thomas, would like to see days like International Women’s Day elicit change in the profession and broader community, to break down the barriers and recognise the unique experiences of women.

“The challenge for many women is at some point in their life they may want to become mothers, and this is an additional role to their professional role, so there is an extra mental load that women carry outside of their professional duties. In doing so there is a lot we have on our plate to try and juggle,” Dr Stacey-Thomas said.  

“In trying to step into leadership there needs to be a facility where women are assisted to be able to take on additional roles on top of all the other stuff they do, and I think that’s one of the many barriers that stops women from stepping forward, the actual load.”

Aside from those who are mothers, Dr Stacey-Thomas believes for all women there needs to be a level of encouragement, to give them the confidence that they will be heard and not silenced.

“Negative stereotypes and views of women in boardrooms and in positions of power are still out there. This is not representative of all men, and we certainly have some great male leaders in our profession, however they don’t experience what women experience and don’t necessarily have to face these stereotypes, so they don’t even know it exists.”

This year’s International Women’s Day theme also closely aligns with the WIC Committee Charter, which centres around the promotion of leadership, advocacy and connections among female chiropractors.

“Leadership comes in many different ways and doesn’t mean just in a board sense. You might be involved in one of the subcommittees, a leader in your community or a leader within your local peers. But leadership does come with putting your hand up and saying ‘I’m prepared to put myself on the line to support and encourage other women’, so they feel they have a connection or can safely raise a concern.”

To implement this training and support, the ACA Board have made a commitment to invest in women’s leadership courses and training, with direct involvement from WIC to initiate its utilisation and ensure members have access to these resources.  

The group is also planning on hosting close to six webinars across the year, discussing a range of topics, as well as several in-person group events in each region.

ACA look forward to continuing to support women in the profession and recognise the importance of our role as an organisation in ensuring members feel supported and heard. For more information on the International Women’s Day theme, visit unwomen.org.au or to become a part of the WIC group, join them on Facebook by searching for ‘ACA Women in Chiropractic’.