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Females lead conservation organisations

Three of Victoria’s key conservation organisations are now headed up by women, with females also comprising the majority of their employee base.

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Females lead conservation organisations

Three of Victoria’s key conservation organisations are now headed up by women, with females also comprising the majority of their employee base.

Bush Heritage Australia’s new Chief Executive is Heather Campbell, Victoria Marles is the Chief Executive Officer of Trust for Nature and Dr Jenny Gray is the Chief Executive Officer of Zoos Victoria.

The three women will feature at the Celebrating Women in Conservation Breakfast on 28 February at Federation Square, which will be attended by more than 460 guests ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Ms Campbell started as Chief Executive at national conservation not-for-profit Bush Heritage Australia in January, making her the most recent female appointment to a senior role.

Almost two-thirds of Bush Heritage’s workforce are women, including fundraising and support staff. In 2011, a third of Bush Heritage’s land management roles were filled by women; now that figure has swelled to 51 per cent, across a total field-based workforce of 47.

Bush Heritage’s Board and Senior Management Team also has gender parity.

“Bush Heritage has always prided itself on championing women in conservation which makes achieving parity among our reserve-based staff extra special,” Ms Campbell said.

“Conservation is a rewarding career for any person, female or male, and Bush Heritage will continue to champion women across the organisation—be they land managers, ecologists, volunteers or researchers.”

Similar trends are seen at Trust for Nature, a not-for-profit organisation set up by the Victorian Government in 1972 which has 53 people working across the state.

Out of the nine member board, seven are women and 60 per cent of staff are female.  

Ms Marles said, “We receive strong interest from females for field-based roles. Women are attracted to the opportunity to connect with private landholders, care for the environment, and work on the land. 

“Many of our executive and management positions are filled by females—they are dedicated to the varied and dynamic demands of working in a not-for-profit and excel at the hectic pace of delivery.” 

Zoos Victoria’s 750-strong workforce also has more women than men in the majority of its roles, at nearly 59%.

Dr Gray said the zoo-based conservation organisation was an attractive place to work for many reasons.

“We’ve found both men and women see themselves as suitable to the many roles within our organisation,” Dr Gray said.

“They are attracted by our commitment to fighting extinction and our compassionate conservation approach.

“We’ve been delighted to advance many women in Zoos Victoria roles, both on the ground and in leadership positions. Smart, qualified women are well suited to all of our conservation roles.”

The Celebrating Women in Conservation Breakfast is generously sponsored by NAB, JBWere and Ethical Investment Services.