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What Does It Mean To Have A Voice?

People Measures Directors

People Measures Directors

At its heart the People Measures WILD (Women in Leadership Development) program aims to give women a voice. The quote that accompanies our main WILD image is this one:

“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult”

– Melinda Gates

Given the moment of time we find ourselves in, we have been thinking and reflecting a lot about that concept of ‘voice’ and what happens when you don’t have one. When all around you people are making decisions for you, about you, doing things to you, thinking they know you, but because of that lack of voice they are doing so without consulting you.

To make the point about the Referendum and the proposed Voice to Parliament for First Nations Australians, a woman called Lauren Dubois posted a video on TikTok to show what that would look like for women. We first saw this on LinkedIn and it is worth watching

WILD is a leadership program, and we consider this to be a leadership moment for our nation. A leadership moment, not because we believe that everyone should think the way we think (People Measures supports a yes vote and we are also very committed to everyone’s inalienable right to make their own choice), but a leadership moment because choice comes with responsibility. The privilege of living in a democracy where every vote counts means everyone needs their choice to be informed.

As Barry Jones wrote a couple of weeks ago in the Saturday Paper:

“The slogan ‘if you don’t know, vote no’ is morally bankrupt. It encourages citizens not to engage with an important issue. Really if you don’t know, you should find out. This is basic decency on a question of such importance”.

We agree with that sentiment. Democracy critically relies on our engagement. And in that context leadership means that when you step into that booth on October 14 you vote based on your own research, your own reflections, and your own engagement with the issue. It means you ask yourself what it would be like to be the one being voted on. It means you ask yourself what it means to be Australian, what are the privileges and what are the responsibilities?

As we see it, the Voice is a modest request from First Nations people to be included in the conversation when rules and policies are discussed and decisions are made about them. Some of us are migrants to this country and feel burdened by the idea that the people who were here first rely on our vote, rather than the other way around. As far as we can see the Referendum is not asking us (or you) to give anything up, it is asking us to include a group of people who have to date not been included, and who are on any measure the most disadvantaged group in our society. We are voting yes.

But we are not asking you to see it the way we see it. Our opinion is our opinion, and our vote is our own, just as your vote is yours. All we are asking is that you ask yourself the same question we ask during the WILD program: ‘What does leadership look like, when it looks like you?’ and what does that mean on October 14?

Thanks for reading and engaging, and if you want to talk further, please drop us a line. Any of us would love to have a no-judgement conversation about the issue and what it might mean.

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