We are 3 senior women lawyers in our forties.
Currently living in Sydney, one of us was brought up in New Zealand, one in country South Australia, and one is the daughter of Armenian migrants.
We have all been in the workforce for more than 20 years, and we employ people.
We have all been sexually harassed at work. We have all seen women experience lesser opportunities than their male peers. We have all seen talented women step away.
Between us we have 7 children including 4 girls, and so we are busy working mothers.
We live the daily chaos of getting children to school with lunches and signed consent forms in bags before arriving at work more or less on time, fully dressed and without visible evidence of weetbix on our clothes. We aspire to cram fitness into our daily routines.
We are frustrated that, in 2019, power in this country resides overwhelmingly in white men. We are angered that decisions of both government and the private sector that affect women are made overwhelmingly by men, who have never been pregnant, are statistically far less likely to have suffered sexual harassment or domestic violence, and who are too often unable or simply unwilling to listen to women’s lived experiences.
As our day jobs involve acting as advocates and seeking to persuade people, we decided to escalate our frustrations from the occasional private lunch to a national forum. We did this confident that there are many Australian women who – whatever their address, their background or their political affiliations – share many of our frustrations and want to ensure that their concerns are heard without having the time or capacity to speak up.
In every electorate in Australia, however “safe”, women and girls represent 51% of the population. Let’s make women’s votes count.
Vanessa Whittaker SC – Vanessa is a commercial silk at the NSW Bar. She has 2 children.
Maria O’Brien – Maria has been a partner in a large global law firm for more than 15 years. She has 3 children.
Sera Mirzabegian – Sera has been a lawyer for 17 years, 12 of them as a commercial barrister. She has 2 children.
The Mary Lee Project
Send us your suggestions of Australian women who should be memorialized, and together, we can start a movement to recognise and commemorate these women and their achievements. Learn more about Mary Lee