Recognising and celebrating Queensland Women’s Week at Stanwell

12 March 2021

In a recent address to Stanwell’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, Stanwell’s CEO, Richard Van Breda, reiterated how ‘mission-critical’ inclusion and diversity is for the company’s long-term future.

International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the achievements of women at Stanwell and talk openly about the things we can all do to bring about positive change.

The 2021 International Women’s Day theme is #choosetochallange. In light of this year’s theme, and Queensland Women’s Week, we sat down with four women from across Stanwell to ask them about their experiences, the achievements they are most proud of, and what this day means to them.

Why do you think it’s important we challenge gender bias?

General Manager, Stanwell Energy, Jennifer Tarr
“Both men and women have valuable contributions to make. Our daughters and sons should both be able to reach their potential. We all suffer over the long-term when groups of people are held back and unfairly treated.”

Site Manager, Stanwell Power Station, Angie Zahra
“To encourage different ways of thinking, different perspectives, making sure everyone has a voice at the table and everyone can participate. Diversity of thought helps us move forward.”

People and Culture Advisor, Courtney Brown
“To put it simply, without challenge, there will be no change.”

Business Services Team Lead, Leanne Harm
“Whether male or female, each one of us deserve to have a dream and the ability and freedom to achieve our goals. Every one of us deserves respect and the ability to choose.  As women we wear many hats in our lifetime, we should be proud to stand together and support each other no matter what our background!”

What achievement are you most proud of?

Jennifer Tarr
“I am most proud of joining a swimming squad and swimming early in the morning. It took me years to work up the courage to attend the first time. Then I had to battle my own excuses each squad morning for about a year before feeling comfortable.  I was the slowest swimmer and so unfit. But each time I finished I really felt like I’d accomplished the most amazing achievement. Joining the squad gave me confidence to take on other challenges at work and at home.” 

Angie Zahra
“I’m most proud of my site manager role, having the respect of my peers and the support of the organisation to be able to perform this role.”

Courtney Brown
“Honestly, being successful in getting the People and Culture Advisor position with Stanwell and making the move to Kingaroy! Taking this plunge has turned out to be the best decision for me, both professionally and personally.” 

Leanne Harm
“I am proud of having raised two amazing children as a single parent, while building a career. I am proud of supporting my children through school and having tutored my son from year 9 to 12, while working full time. I am proud of having the strength to support my parents through my father’s illness. And most of all, I am proud that through all this, I value who I am.”
Can you describe a time you have had to choose to challenge gender bias, discrimination, or stereotyping?

Jennifer Tarr
“I have noticed unconscious bias in situations where vacant roles are available. The unknown, future employee is often assumed to be a man. Colleagues say things like, “when he starts” and “he will want to have a say in that”. I have observed the unconscious bias from both men and women. When I point it out, people are usually surprised and regretful that they have perpetuated bias.” 

Angie Zahra
“Very early in my career I was issued a dress to wear at a power station that had multiple mesh staircases and landings. I raised it as an issue that I was uncomfortable and requested a pants and a shirt, which was provided. Later, I needed to both challenge myself and others to ensure I was heard and listened to. In general, I have worked with people who value my input.”

Courtney Brown
“In my previous role, I wasn’t being recognised for the work I was doing in terms of position title and remuneration. I chose to challenge this by having a difficult conversation with my Manager at the time. After numerous conversations and going above and beyond in my role, nothing changed. Time passed and eventually after a lot of persistence, I did receive a promotion and salary increase. This was by no means an overnight process, and although I moved on from this company shortly after, I hope there were flow-on impacts for other females in the team and those who joined after me.”

Leanne Harm
“I was two when women were granted the right to drink at a public bar. Disappointingly, I have seen gender bias and discrimination occur in my lifetime. But I am also pleased to say that I have also seen it challenged by both men and women.”

We would like to thank Jennifer, Angie, Courtney and Leanne for the opportunity to share their experiences.