International Women’s Day is always a day of special significance at Bridge Housing. Not only is our own workforce comprised of more than 75% women, but housing and homelessness is something that disproportionately impacts women.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 60% of people seeking homelessness support in Australia in 2020-21 were women. Many were fleeing domestic violence with their children. Older women are also at risk, with women over 45 now one of the fastest growing groups of homeless Australians. Homelessness is most definitely a women’s issue.

For International Women’s Day 2022, we gathered to celebrate the talented, passionate women in our team and to reflect on the work still to be done to achieve gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.

Bridge Housing Board Director, Karen Cooper - a Kamilaroi woman from South West Queensland - was a special guest speaker. Karen eloquently shared the story of her own professional and personal growth, including the challenges and opportunities she has experienced as an Aboriginal woman working in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.

As an ‘agent for change’, Karen has made a positive impact on many lives throughout her career. Helping young women to realise their own potential has been a continuing theme of Karen’s work. Karen also reflected on the importance of women seeking out strong mentors - both male and female - to assist on their personal and professional journeys.

Bridge Housing CEO Rebecca Pinkstone also spoke on the progress to date on gender equality and the work yet to be done: both within our organisation and for our customers, including our residents and women seeking housing.

“We have worked hard to achieve equality across our organisation,” says Ms Pinkstone.

“We have engaged with the Diversity Council of Australia to achieve Inclusive Employer status and have a strong corporate culture that supports our female employees in their careers and work/life balance. We take a zero tolerance position on harassment and violence. We value and celebrate difference, both in our workforce and our tenants,” she says.

In recognising International Women’s Day, we encourage everyone to look at their own sphere of influence - at work and in the community – to see how we can all champion gender equality.