Helen Clark Part 3 from #TEDxAkl 2013

One of the highlights of TEDxAuckland 2013 was a talk by NZ ex PM Helen Clark. Helen was Prime Minister of New Zealand for 9 years and is based in New York where she now works for the UN.

The theme of the talk was advocating for more women in leadership. She opened with an anecdote about a conference (in 2000) where the woman heads of government and UN agency heads could have fitted in two phoneboxes. Globally today that level of women in leadership is still under 20%.

Helen-Clark In Clarks view this is a failure of representation.

Whatever your politics she made some excellent points and showed just how formidable and compelling she can be.

One example she mentioned from India – Councils led by women are 60% more likely the prioritise clean and safe drinking water; and here a more personal experience…

“It probably does help on the journey to leadership to be born the first in the family and not have any brothers but we tend not to have much control over that – but that was part of my story.

I grew up in a home where there were no girls jobs and boys jobs – there were just jobs and you mucked in and you did those jobs.

I also had parents who really believed in me. And backed me all the way. And everyone can be that parent and back their girl children as much as they back their boy children.

And so I went through life with this background of believing that girls could do anything…”

And that – right there is what I was looking for. My daughter who has just turned 12 was with me and watching Helen’s talk and loving it.

There were some other children in the house and I hope all the parents there will watch this clip again with their children (especially girls.)

Here is rush release of the clip from the NZ Herald. The whole event was filmed with three broadcast quality cameras and those clips will be uploaded to the TEDx Talks Youtube channel in about 3-6 weeks depending on the edit and mixing process. Updated: 21 August this is the official clip now on YouTube

There were many more insights on personal and structural factors in the political process and related issues. The importance of bringing a gender sensitive eye to public policy with examples from her time as a Health Minister.

She mentioned midwives, paid parental leave, support for early childhood education, annual leave and student loans.

There were also some comments about the pressure on New Zealand to be be more involved in Iraq and the insight that was not a good idea for us as a nation. Part of this comes from reflecting on gender equity and partly by much greater support for women in leadership.

Your thoughts ?