Celebrating women

As this week of celebrating women continues, and with International Women’s Day yesterday, we’d like to add a few acknowledgements of our own in keeping with this year’s theme: “Women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

According to the UN, “Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organisers and as some of the most exemplary and effective leaders in combating the pandemic.”

This year’s theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

When COVID-19 hit last year, the incredible team of women (and men!) led by Mercy Community CEO Fritha Radyk rallied, ensuring the entire workforce was provided with informative, regular and frequent communications, where transparency, authenticity and heart was key.

“We have a duty of care to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society—the ones who were most at risk from the virus. We knew we had to be prepared for whatever was coming … We started planning early and remained ahead of the curve over the coming trying months,” said Fritha.

“On any given day, we would be working with the Aged Care team, the NDIS team, and coordinating six different regions where we deliver a range of services for families and young people. This involved back-to-back teleconferencing meetings, with various government groups, to coordinate the appropriate responses. A highly challenging way to work, especially when human contact is part of our fundamental service, but we managed well,” she said.

The success of female leaders in managing the pandemic has not gone unnoticed.

Analysis published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum suggests that proactive and coordinated policy responses adopted by female leaders is the reason they’ve had greater success managing COVID-19.

The Conversation even did their own study, and found “… that COVID-outcomes in the early stages of the pandemic were systematically and significantly better in countries led by women.”

Great leadership was demonstrated by women throughout the organisation, from the CEO to the care workers on the front line and everyone in between. In every area of the organisation, women demonstrated a proactive approach as well as agility and creativity as they engaged with their teams to manage operations during the pandemic.

Teams in all service streams had to find new ways of working and connecting with people online.

Jaclyn Sullivan [pictured] was part of the Mercy Community Shining Lamps Volunteers, who delivered hampers of supplies to vulnerable people who’d been left isolated during COVID-19. The team were mostly made up of staff from our Residential Care and Transition Services (RCaTS). Read the full story in our Annual Report.

Our Exceptionally Complex Support Needs Program team started webinars that are now attracting more attendees than was ever thought possible.

Our Local Level Alliance team has worked hard to support victims and survivors of domestic violence with their Supporting Sustainable Tenancies seminars, bringing the real estate industry into the fold to help solve accommodation challenges faced by vulnerable women.

It was a difficult time for everyone and we acknowledge all the women (and men) who played a part—both within Mercy Community and within the wider community. What role models our Mercy Community women are for girls, who have lived through this pandemic and witnessed what women all around the world are doing.

This year’s International Women’s Day is also aligned with the Generation Equality campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, and end to all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.

Women are at the heart of care and response efforts as the world continues to grapple with COVID-19 and all of its implications. In the meantime, we can make 2021 count for women and girls everywhere, in the way we talk, think, and act every day. What we do can create a ripple effect that benefits everyone.

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