Call to action for all women

BY KERRY ANDERSON

As I watch the next generation of females in our family grow I have been reflecting on how much has changed since I grew up in a male dominated world and equally, how much still hasn’t.  Sadly we need to keep spelling it out. 

Here is my call to action for all women.

Don’t stereo type 

Encourage your daughters and grand-daughters to be brave, be creative, to explore, to dream and to question. 

Pull those barbie dolls apart and see how they’re made.  Better still get out in the workshop and tinker with those machines.  

Talk up the arts plus science and technology when it comes to career paths. Skills are for everyone to practice and learn according to their interest, not their gender. 

Keep an open mind 

With 70% of future jobs not yet invented, I for one don’t want to be a career adviser. 

What has happened in the past is not necessarily the way of the future with modern technology.  Just look at the mobile phone as an example. Who would have thought that it would also become a camera, calculator, GPS and essentially a mini computer? 

What surprised me most in a 2013 survey of 1,000 secondary school students in rural Victoria was the lack of understanding of how technology is changing geographic barriers. 

Yes we still want to encourage young people to travel and experience the city as a student but we also need to understand that technology is opening up new careers in rural areas as well.

Encourage entrepreneurs  

With youth unemployment a worldwide issue, why aren’t we flagging self-employment as an option? 

Schools need to be inviting business leaders into the class room to share their stories.  Teachers need to embrace technology to better engage students in business studies. 

Most important of all - Get over this tall poppy syndrome!  Accept the failures as part of the learning process and celebrate the successes.  Business is good for us all. We need business to grow and prosper or how can we support the wonderful education, health and welfare services that we currently enjoy?

While there is no doubt in my mind that future generations are going to be facing a tougher economy, adversity has also proven to be a great breeding ground for entrepreneurs.

Rural women are great problem solvers and great disruptors because we have to be. With so many new technologies available to us, there is no limit to what we can achieve. 

As I always say:  If you can't spell Entrepreneur then be one and hire someone that can!

 Two little girls delighted to be helping their self employed mother deliver parcels from  Fair Dinkum Dog Coats  to the post office.

Two little girls delighted to be helping their self employed mother deliver parcels from Fair Dinkum Dog Coats to the post office.


KERRY ANDERSON:  A businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria, Kerry Anderson is passionate about rural and regional Australia.  She works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace opportunities.

MORE about Kerry Anderson

READ Kerry's full presentation paper on this topic for the 2015 International Rural Women's Conference.