On 7th March 2018, AWE Network founders Bridget, Kathy and Amanda attended a UN breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day. The theme for this year was Leave No Woman Behind, with a focus on women in the context of disasters, and the unequal impact disasters have on women and children.
It was a great environment and incubator for our idea for a network of Australian women that would promote and support and strengths, skills and expertise that women bring to disaster resilience and emergency management.
Within a week the three of us had met over lunch to share our visions and ideas and to workshop a way forward. Recognising that a range of sectors all work toward the same goals of building stronger, more resilient communities, and planning for, responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters, we wanted the network to be inclusive and open to all women. We also wanted our members to help shape the network to meet their needs.
With a business plan, logo and lots of enthusiasm, the Australian Women in Emergencies (AWE) Network came into being.
The speed with which word of the AWE Network spread took us by surprise. Since our first emails seeking expressions of interest, and subsequent launch on 17th April, we now have almost 700 members. When we first met we thought we could celebrate our 100th member – we now realise that we should have been planning to celebrate our 1,000th member!
It is encouraging to now see the continued interest in the AWE Network with new members signing up daily. And it is wonderful to see a sea of yellow badges at conferences and events.
The AWE Network has been born.