Celebrating International Women's Day 2021 at WaterAid Australia

on
5 March 2021
Iru, 15, student in Grade 8, stands outside her toilet at her home in the stilt village, Gaba Gaba Village, Rigo District, Central Province, Papua New Guinea
Iru, 15, student in Grade 8, stands outside her toilet at her home in the stilt village, Gaba Gaba Village, Rigo District, Central Province, Papua New Guinea. WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

Navara: I feel the biggest point of empowerment for me is the WaterAid leadership’s confidence in me to take on the leadership role and theirs, and my fellow PNG team’s, confidence and support of women in leadership. This has been really empowering for me and an enabler for me to take on this leadership role. I think it has also helped that I have been able to take this leadership journey with Jenny, who I look up to as a longer-serving member of the team and also Rachel, who was encouraging me to take on the leadership role as soon as I had started. It's been great to work with fellow PNG women who are role models to me.

WaterAid PNG, led by Jenny and Navara, work on a range of WASH issues, including gender equality and menstrual health management, supporting women and girls across the country.
WaterAid/Tom Greenwood
WaterAid PNG, led by Jenny and Navara, work on a range of WASH issues, including gender equality and menstrual health management, supporting women and girls across the country.

Navara: The biggest insight out of COVID has been the emergence of more women leading and emerging as leaders and I think this has been because of women’s inherent resilience and emotional strength that is so useful during emergencies such as pandemics. An insight from me would be that barriers are only there if you put them there. While I am fully aware that especially PNG has significant cultural and social barriers that disadvantage women, in many areas including the workforce, politics and leadership, I think it will affect you more only if you dwell on it. The change needs to start from the individuals ignoring or overlooking those barriers. I have never seen myself as a female manager or leader just as a leader. When I work or deal with male colleagues or partners, I just see us as counterparts, not as female and male. I think you need to have a mindset free of inequalities to think, behave and also demonstrate and inspire others that we are in fact equal and should never feel inferior or unequal.

Sandra carries water home. Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea.
WaterAid/Tom Greenwood
"PNG has significant cultural and social barriers that disadvantage women in many areas including the workforce, politics and leadership."