Lucinda Bradlow

WEEK 13: 52 STORIES OF INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

Breaking Barriers: The Revolutionary Job Share in Politics

This is Lucinda Bradlow’s Story

WELCOME TO WEEK 13 of 52 Inspirational Stories of Women! The project is designed to recognize 52 inspiring Women, celebrating the everyday women who make a difference in our lives. 

WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?

Growing up, my parents always liked to say to me and my siblings – life is like a lottery.

It begins at birth – where you were born and in what circumstances.

The Moral of the story ‘we were born lucky’.

I was born white in apartheid South Africa, which meant I had privileges based only on the colour of my skin. I was also born to educated and curious parents, who taught me to listen, learn, and be interested in the world around me. They taught me that it was my responsibility to be aware of my privilege and not to take opportunities for granted.

I think this base has guided my decision-making since I was a small child. I was always interested in the world around me – what made us different, but also, what made us the same. After I finished university and worked as a lawyer in Melbourne for a short time, I moved overseas for 11 years – first in London, then in Washington, D.C. Living and working in these places, including spending periods working in Kazakhstan, Liberia, Kenya and India, shaped the way I view my work and my ambitions now.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am currently running as a job share candidate in the next federal election. It is the first time in Australia anyone has proposed that two people can run for one elected office. My job share partner and I both aren’t in a position where we believe we could take on the role of a federal politician in a full-time capacity, but by sharing the role, we believe we could be the best possible representatives for our community, giving our constituents two sets of skills and experience and a fresh perspective.

Prior to running for Parliament, I was the Executive Manager of Communications and Campaigns at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). In this role, I oversaw the first-ever public release of private-sector employer gender pay gaps in Australia, radically shifting the conversation on workplace gender equality and making gender equality a driving issue at the corporate and public policy level.

Before WGEA, I  spent over a decade working in public affairs in Washington, D.C. and London. Most recently, I was a Vice President in strategic communications at FGS Global, where I led social impact campaigns for a range of clients, including working with Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch its global healthy cities campaign, and the EmersonCollective to build and implement its Dial Fellowship program to strengthen the voices of some of the world’s most impactful social entrepreneurs. Prior to FGS Global, I was the Director of Public Relations for Bridge International Academies, a network of independent schools in Africa and Asia.

I am a qualified lawyer with an Llb/Ba from Monash University and a Masters in African Studies from the University of Oxford. Most of all, I am passionate about women’s empowerment, which is why I founded The Salon, an intimate networking space for women.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU?

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) reports on gender’s impact on about 40% of the Australian workforce. Last year, WGEA found that 58% of women worked part-time or casually, while only 7% of managerial roles were part-time. This drops to 5% for Key Management Personnel and 3% for CEOs.

This caps career progression for part-time workers. Since caregiving responsibilities often fall on women, they are more likely to work part-time and thus face limited career growth. Men also avoid part-time roles due to potential career limitations.

The issue is more about a lack of imagination than necessity. Job sharing offers a solution, providing continuity and diverse perspectives.

Having worked in politics, I know its demands are unrealistic for many. To make politics more inclusive and representative, we need roles that don’t require 24/7 availability. Job sharing is one effective way to achieve this.

HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED?

Other people keep me inspired. There is always someone else doing something more selfless, more impactful, more amazing. Yesterday I met with someone who was helping women escape and recover from domestic violence. Her empathy, dedication and resilience in the face of truly horrifying circumstances inspire me.

Tonight one of my best friends made a generous donation to our campaign. Knowing that she believes in what we are doing and is willing to put her hard earned money behind our campaign makes me want to work harder and show her that every cent will go towards improving her daughter’s future.

Sometimes I’m also negatively inspired – if that’s a thing! I want to show all the people who say we can’t, or that we are naive, or that we don’t know what we are doing – or the ABC journalist who demeaningly called us “a pair of mothers” – that we can and we will and that there is an army of people behind us who want us to win!

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Excuses for inaction are plentiful—it’s not the right time, I don’t have enough savings, if I help one person, I’ll have to help everyone. However, to make a difference, you must eventually take action.

My advice is simple: just do it. Donate to that charity. Volunteer for the school council. Help the refugee down the street learn English.

Whenever an opportunity to help arises, seize it. It won’t always be perfect. You might give a dollar and then be asked for ten, or face criticism, or unintentionally cause harm. But trying is always worth it. Always.

HOW DO YOU GET PAST SELF-DOUBT?

I don’t get past it; I live with it. Self-doubt is healthy—it keeps you grounded and open to others’ advice.

In high-stress, high-profile roles, especially in politics, self-criticism and self-awareness are crucial. A politician friend once said that politicians face constant opposition from their rivals and the media. Today, it’s even worse with online trolls. To cope, politicians often surround themselves with “yes” people, leading to a disconnect from their constituents.

Therefore, a bit of self-doubt is beneficial. It ensures you don’t get bogged down and can still take big leaps. I rely on a few trusted individuals, including my job-sharing partner, for honest support.

WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF WOMEN?

When you start as a woman running for political office, everyone warns you about the relentless challenges, misogynistic trolls, and harsh media. It’s true, but no one tells you about the incredible supporters you’ll meet.

We proposed a bold idea: job sharing in federal Parliament. It’s unprecedented in Australia. Each week, I meet someone new who wants to support us.

Support comes from all genders, ages, and backgrounds. Our first major donor was a man in his 60s. I’ve been backed by young women, retired men wanting to improve politics, and even a friend’s 6-year-old daughter who invited me to dinner to “celebrate my politics.”

Despite media polarisation, the support we’ve received fills me with optimism. There are many brilliant, kind people who want a better, more gender-equal world. That gives me hope for the future of women.

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HOW CAN OTHERS FIND OUT MORE?

Lucy Bradlow: Linkedin | Instagram

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    About the Author

    KARINA PAMAMULL

    A brilliant brunette, effortlessly juggling a plate of crispy fries in one hand while gracefully dancing to the rhythm of life with a glass of fine wine in the other.  I’m the ultimate dopamine hunter, always on the lookout for thrilling new experiences.

    I have worn many hats – a professional Dating Coach responsible for countless love stories, a seasoned General Manager, and the mastermind behind multiple events departments. I’ve successfully orchestrated over 500 events, each one a unique tapestry of connection and celebration. From conferences, and elegant soirées to heart-warming gatherings, each with its own unique story.  I am the successful author of a book called ’52 Stories of Kindness’ with more than 500 copies sold.

    All these fabulous experiences showed me the power of true connections and acts of kindness. They inspired me to create a space where women can uplift, support, and empower one another. WingWomanTribe – the home for women to find friends, connect, and grow with a tribe where they feel fully supported. #liveyourwishlist

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