Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders is a new exhibition produced by NSW State Archives. See Blaze at the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University, and online via our e-catalogue.
Blaze engages with the finding that a significant leadership gap continues to exist between women and men in public life. Through its thoughtfully curated study of a selection of women working in different policy fields from the 1860s to the present, Blaze sheds insights into the challenges and opportunities that women have faced building professional careers in the NSW public sphere.
Spanning a 150 year timeframe, Blaze looks to a selection of women from the past who were trailblazers in carving out roles for females in the NSW public sphere. They were the first women to hold positions that had been traditionally occupied by men. These ‘past’ Blaze women led the way for others to follow and they re-shaped the institutions of the State from within. As ‘firsts’, their leadership enabled future generations of women to pursue opportunities that they themselves might only have imagined.
Turning to the present, Blaze engages with the stories of fourteen women who currently hold senior positions in NSW government agencies, departments, boards and/or related initiatives. In their day-to-day work, they make a high-level contribution to the work of the State and the communities of NSW. For Blaze, each of these ‘present’ women have reflected on their careers, and in doing so, provided unique insights into their formative, professional and leadership experiences.
‘Leadership’ as a concept and practice weaves throughout Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders. In this video, the ‘present’ Blaze women reflect on their experiences of leadership in the public sphere.
The opportunity to complete a quality education—secondary schooling and university—has played a critical role in the lives of the women whose stories make up Blaze: Working Women, Public Leaders. In this video, the ‘present’ Blaze women reflect on their education and recall how it influenced their thinking and career choices.