Australian Consulate-General
Chengdu, China

Australian Alumni Event: Women in Healthcare (15/10/2020)

Ladies and gentlemen,


Welcome to today's Women in Leadership (Healthcare) event.


The Australian Consulate General in Chengdu regularly organises women in leadership events. Every year, we hold an event to mark International Women’s Day. While this was not possible this year due to the COVID-19 epidemic, we have put together a similar event today to discuss the critical roles women play in the health industry and underscore women’s broader social contributions.


2020 has been an unprecedented year and women's abilities and responsibilities have been particularly prominent. With women making up 70 per cent of health and social service workers globally, women have shouldered a disproportionate share of the front-line effort in the fight against COVID-19. In this struggle, female medical experts, scientists, and government leaders have been tenacious and unswerving in their commitment.


Promoting Women in Leadership is an important Australian foreign policy objective. Empowering women and girls is not only about justice and fairness. It is also about promoting economic development and building a more dynamic and inclusive society.


Many outstanding women are preeminent within Australia’s diplomatic service. Our Foreign Minister and departmental Secretary are both women. 44 per cent of our heads of mission around the world are female. The Australian Government has also appointed an Ambassador for Gender Equality and an Ambassador for Women in STEM to promote gender issues and increase women's visibility globally.


The Australian Consulate General in Chengdu pays particular attention to the development of our female employees. Many important tasks, including government relations, political and economic research, and business development, are all undertaken by women.


As the Australian Consul General in Chengdu, I am honoured to have meet so many outstanding women in Southwest China, many of whom I now count as friends. There are many inspirational female leaders among us tonight who use their charisma to inspire and influence those around them.


To convey the power and energy of our two nation’s outstanding women, last year the Australian Consulate-General in Chengdu held a ‘She Inspires Me’ photo competition. Participants shared stories and photos of the women who inspired them. This year, the submissions of winning entrants have been compiled into a She Inspires Me book which further highlights the tenacity, dedication, achievement, compassion, wisdom and strength of women from different cultural backgrounds in both China and Australia.


It gives me great pleasure to launch this book today. This book was intended to be launched at International Women’s Day but, as I noted, this was not possible due to COVID-19.


To fully realise the potential of female leaders, we still have a lot of work to do. But we are heading in the right direction. I believe that in all fields, and by working together, we can make a concerted push to advance female leadership.


Thank you and enjoy the evening.