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Changing Faces: Reframing Women in Local Democracy

We are calling on females of all ages who contribute to the Bayside community to have their portraits taken as part of a unique project highlighting the significant and varied role of women and girls in our community.

The portraits are part of a groundbreaking gender equity campaign, Changing Faces: Reframing Women in Local Democracy.

It will replace the 164 portraits of male Mayors that adorn Bayside City Council Chambers with the same number of portraits of females representing diversity in Bayside. The portraits will form a powerful exhibition that will run from February 2020 until the local elections in October 2020.

Ponch Hawkes and Kit McMahon, the CEO of Women’s Health in the South East

Over 100 females have already signed up to have their portrait taken. Our aim is to have 164 participants so we can illustrate the variety of roles females play in our community.

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 12 to 95 years, are taking part.

Nominate yourself or someone you believe is making a great contribution to Bayside. Be part of the change.

Frequently asked questions

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, will photograph the successful nominees. She is inviting each 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.

Ponch Hawkes

“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.”

Children and youth from local schools, women and children with a disability, sports teams, Australia Day award recipients, new Bayside citizens, CEOs, international students and relatives of current and past Mayors will also be asked to participate to ensure the project has a wide range of female community members represented.

Ponch Hawkes will take the portraits at the Bayside City Council Chambers in Brighton on October 7, 8, 11 and 13. You can view Ponch’s work at her website.

Bayside businesswoman, Rebecca Aldridge

To nominate someone or to express interest yourself, either use the form below or email changingfacesproject [at] bayside.vic.gov.au with the nominee’s name, email address and a short description of how they contribute to Bayside.

The Project Working Group will select the final participants, not on “merit”, but on ensuring the project includes females from a diverse range of demographics, cultures, abilities, achievements and professions. Participants may be a business leader, the long-time coach of a local sporting club, or a dedicated volunteer, or teacher.

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.