Director of Audit, Investigation and Assurance, Murray-Darling Basin Authority
For Di, International Women’s Day is a day to recognise the work we still need to do to achieve gender equality.
‘Even though we rightly acknowledge where we’ve come from, I still don’t think we’re there yet. So for me, on International Women’s Day it is really important to highlight there’s still a lot left to be done.
‘As in all walks of life, it’s critical to have women well represented. Water has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. You’ve got lots of engineers, scientists, irrigators, farmers – industries that have always had lots of male representation.
‘I don’t think that reflects the reality of water, where around all of our communities, particularly regional communities, there are a lot of women and we need to hear their voices.’
With a degree in science and a master’s in environmental law, Di has worked for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for 10 years and says female representation at the organisation has always been strong.
‘We’ve always had a strong representation of women at high levels. I think it helps when you go out to the community if you’re supporting women yourself.
‘We’ve got our basin community committee, which has always had a strong female presence, and I think that’s really important. We need to ensure broad community views include women.’
Di chooses to challenge assumptions regarding gender equality and encourages more female participation in the water space.
‘For me, it’s about challenging the assumptions that women are already there – that there’s not much left to be done. It’s also challenging the assumptions we make every day in our own life, where there’s a tendency to defer to the dominant male view.
‘We need to encourage women to speak up more. Women are represented everywhere but sometimes not heard everywhere. At some of the community meetings I attend, I think maybe one of our challenges is to choose to invite women to speak up more because they’re behind every family, every farmer and every Aboriginal community.’