Page 28 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
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Left: Finalists and sponors gathered for networking masterclass before the main event.
figures, including Australia’s first female Minister for Defence and WIDA patron Senator Marise Payne.
A number of speakers took to the podi- um to talk about the often-unrecognised contribution women make to Defence and industry, and highlighted the strengths that a diverse workforce brings to compa- nies and organisations.
A central theme soon emerged as wom- en told their stories: You can’t be it, if you can’t see it.
“We need to spread the word,” Minister Payne said in her keynote speech. “Indeed I hold firmly to the view that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Or it’s certainly so much harder to be it.”
Minister Payne recounted her time in Tonga recently where she spoke to a num- ber of women about their experiences on a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission to Sri Lanka in wake of devastating floods.
“There were women who chose to drown, to die, rather than be rescued by an all male crew,” she said in speaking about the important work that gender and diver- sity advisors do on the ground.
The ADF has delivered the region’s first operational gender advisor course, which focused on training US, ADF and DFAT
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Above: Airbus’ Vice President of People and Workplace Rob Elder and Project Managfement category award winner Group Captain Wendy Blyth.
Right: Engineering category winner Dr Christine Shanahan of DSTG (right) with SYPAC CEO and keynote speaker Amanda Holt.
28 | September 2018 |
“Young women thinking of pursuing careers in Defence, in STEM, or related fields are more likely to do so if they see other women in the area.”

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