By Nicole Sommer, Director of EDO’s Healthy Environment and Justice Program

The theme for 111th International Women’s Day is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognising the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change mitigation and adaptation, to build a safe and healthy future for all.  

At EDO this International Womens Day, we recognise the success of EDO’s strong women leaders.  

On pure data, EDO is leading the way with women making up 60% of our Board members, 60% of our Executive and 70% of Leadership positions. This is in stark contrast to the legal profession, where the average women in leadership positions is 30% as at 2020, and the need for targets and quotas remains to promote women internally.  

EDO’s success is seen not only in legal positions, but across all parts of our organisation. Across our non-legal teams, 70% of leadership roles are filled by people identifying as women.   

While Australian Board composition has been making gains with 34.2% women on ASX listed Boards as at 30 November 2021, we are streaking ahead with our Board members being 60% women and including at the highest levels, in our Board Chair and Deputy Chair, Dr Bronwyn Darlington and Dr Kate Galloway. 

Our General Counsel, Jo-Anne Bragg, was this year recognised for her leadership with an Order of Australian for service to environmental law. 

Fleur Ramsay chaired our inaugural First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Working Group, leading EDO onto a new pathway of truth-telling and bringing indigenous perspective into all aspects of the organisation and our work. Mhairi McClymont is co-Chair of our Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

We can be proud that EDO provides a place for women to thrive and lead.   

EDO provides training, support and mentoring for our leaders, with an in-house management training and development course and places for leaders through the Not For Profit McKinsey Program. We supported two of our senior lawyers to participate in the Women’s Environmental Leadership Australia Leadership Program, placing the next generation of environmental leaders with mentors, training and peers.  

Our women leaders are not just leading the organisation but leading change across the nation and the globe. Our inspiring Director, Legal Strategy, Elaine Johnson was recognised last week by national broadsheet the Australian as one of 24 women named in the inaugural 100 Green Power Players list (2022) in the “Impact” category.   

EDO has more to do – and is committed to do it – to value, make space for diverse voices and peoples. There is plenty left to do, and it is the job of all of us. Let’s do it by lifting up and making room for diverse perspectives in our leadership in this organisation.