Amy Blain and Hannah Gissane

"Networking, connecting and collaborating are everything!"

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
We co-founded Young Women Speak Out (YWSO), which has built the capacity of six 16-17 year-old young women in the ACT to campaign and advocate on issues that matter to them. YWSOers had a two-day intensive advocacy and campaigning skills training workshop and are now in the process of developing their photography campaign challenging gender stereotypes.

Why is innovation important to you?
Young women are not just the future, they’re the here and now. Young women are ready to speak out, to make changes so the world reflects their vision; they just need opportunities, platforms and support to be heard. We need young women to see that their views matter and count and to find ways to bring them into decision-making and solution-finding processes. Young people bring creative energy, can-do attitudes and new approaches to address the problems that we haven’t yet managed to fix. We need to find new ways to work intersectionally and intergenerationally to create real transformative change.

What drives you to make a difference?
Our desire to change the world and to meaningfully try to address gender and other social inequalities drives us. We want a future where people are not limited and constrained by stereotypes and where people respect and value one another. We want women and girls to be valued, recognised and included in all power and leadership structures and not held back by outdated gender expectations.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
The YWCA Canberra Great Ydeas grants gave us an amazing opportunity to kick-start an idea we’d be talking about for years. Networking, connecting and collaborating are everything! We’ve increasingly heard people talking about “oldovation” as innovation. What are the good ideas and ways of working from the past that have fallen by the wayside and how can we get them back? One is joining! Joining a sports club, union, civil society organisation, activist group – you name it! In a world of increasing isolationism and looking inwards, one of the best things we can do is join an organisation and, most importantly, join together! Find your people and work together is the way forward.

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