What happens next?
From February 2020 until the local elections in October 2020, the portraits will form a powerful exhibition at the Bayside City Council Chambers. The portraits of male Mayors that adorn Chambers will be replaced with females representing diversity in Bayside.
The project working group will be in contact with participants over the coming months. They will be invited to opening night where they can show friends and family how their portraits will be used in Council Chambers and how they are contributing to gender equity in Bayside.
We have collected some fantastic ideas from participants on how Bayside can promote gender equity and get more females to become Councillors. The project also identified 22 females who want to run for local Council but don’t know where to start.
We also have 99 females who want to mentor females to become leaders in the community.
Ponch Hawkes and Kit McMahon, the CEO of Women’s Health in the South East
Want to know more?
If you are interested in the project and would like to know how you or your organisation can get involved, we’d love to hear from you. You can email changingfacesproject [at] bayside.vic.gov.au or call Project Coordinator Zach Greig on 03 9599 4787 during business hours.
We can’t reveal who has signed onto the project just yet, but we can say some of Australia’s most influential and inspiring females, aged from 5 months to 99 years, are taking part.
Bayside Mayor, Cr Michael Heffernan said the under-representation of females on Council, both in the past and present, needs to be addressed.
“Only 11 female mayors out of 175 have represented Bayside. Only one of Bayside’s current councillors is female,” he said.
“We want women and girls to illustrate how they are influential, successful and make a positive contribution to the community, and show how females can be decision and policy makers.”
Renowned photographic artist, Ponch Hawkes, has photographed the nominees. The majority chose to wear fake moustaches and beards as a way to humorously disrupt Bayside City Council's gender narrative and confront the stereotypes of men being more capable leaders in politics and at work.
We hope this sparks debate about gender inequity and highlight how popular culture has developed idealistic images of women that act as forms of discrimination and unrealistic models.
“The moustaches and beards is not aimed at pretending women need facial hair to be considered equal,” Ponch said.
“The idea is to reinforce how unfortunate, and silly, that women are still so underrepresented. The facial hair will look quite fake, some of it stuck on, some held in front of the face or held up on little sticks. It will make participants feel they aren’t being judged by their looks, but instead they are participating in a serious project in a humorous way - making history.” You can view Ponch’s work at her website.
Bayside businesswoman, Rebecca Aldridge
This project is supported by a Gender Equality Through the Arts Project Grant from Vic Health.
If you would like to find out more about why promoting the role of women is so important please take a look at the results from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey.