Event aims to support rural women in leadership

Community Leadership Loddon Murray executive officer and Women's Health Loddon Mallee chief executive officer Tricia Currie are looking forward to what comes out of the retreat.
Community Leadership Loddon Murray executive officer and Women's Health Loddon Mallee chief executive officer Tricia Currie are looking forward to what comes out of the retreat.

Three organisations have joined forces to host an event aimed at inspiring rural women to take on leadership within their communities in their own unique way, as well as providing an opportunity to get re-energised.

This month’s Women of Community retreat at Hepburn Springs is an initiative of Community Leadership Loddon Murray, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and North Central Local Learning and Employment Network.

The organisations have provided six scholarships to women to participate, and have a further nine on offer.

CLLM executive officer Leah Sertori said they were looking for women in rural communities who were contributing to their community and were interested in influencing leadership.

The retreat will look at helping participants understand and meet their own needs, addressing burn out the organisers say does not have to be part and parcel of contributing in rural communities.

Ms Sertori said there were many rural women who were very giving, caring for families and often volunteering for many organisations, but found themselves exhausted.

Many reported feeling burnt out when they had to conform to more traditionally masculine styles of leadership, she said, so the retreat would encourage women to lead using their own qualities.

The retreat will also explore gender equity.

WHLM chief executive officer Tricia Currie said there was more work to happen across the region when it came to equity in leadership: for example, in the Loddon Mallee region, women made up only a quarter of councillors, but this was not likely representative of those capable of good leadership.

“Where boards work to 50-50 representation, we’re aware diversity leads to dynamic decision making,” Ms Currie said.

Ms Sertori added that women should sometimes challenge expectations around leadership. “You can do it, and you don’t have to do it in the way of the prevailing culture,” she said.

To apply for a scholarship to the retreat or for more information, visit www.cllm.org.au or email leah@cllm.org.au.