Your 'mental load' experience matters: Lucy & Daisy Turnbull

‘The mental load’ experience should be on a woman’s CV: Lucy and Daisy Turnbull


“One thing that’s fascinating to me is that women tend to underrate their life experience when they’re applying for different jobs.”

This is something that Lucy Turnbull says she’s witnessed throughout her time in the workforce, and often, she says, it’s women returning from career breaks that devalue their skill set the most.

Lucy shared these thoughts with Shirley Chowdhary in this week’s episode of The Leadership Lessons, a special mother-daughter special with Lucy and Daisy Turnbull.

“A lot of women don’t understand how good they are at multi-tasking and collaborating, especially across the operations of the family,” Lucy says. “When somebody says, ‘Have you had any experience in project management?’, I think most women have in a way.”

Lucy adds that smart employers and HR managers are coming to understand this, but there needs to be a wider acceptance in society of the many skills gained at home. “So that more women can step up to do things with for which they are perfectly well-skilled [for], although they may not imagine that they are,” Lucy said.

In the podcast, Lucy and her daughter, Daisy, share experiences from their careers – Lucy’s in politics, business and urban planning, and Daisy’s in education and building resilience in children.

Daisy agrees with her mother’s assessment and adds that women should be able to put “the mental load” on their CV. “I think it also becomes an issue when women are trying to re-enter the workforce after having a lot of time out of work,” Daisy says.

“It’s kind of like the old Ginger Rogers line of: ‘I do everything Fred Astaire does, but backwards and in heels’.”

When Lucy became the first female Lord Mayor of Sydney, and then later with her work at the Committee for Sydney and the Greater Sydney Commission, she shares that her mantra was to be “very multifocal” and to bring “all the different threads and strings together”.

“You have to think of everything all at once,” she says. “It’s so important that everybody collaborates and communicates, and that they don’t just think about their stream or staying in their lane.”

Building confidence in your own ability, to be able to bring these skills to the workforce, is something that Daisy, as a teacher and mother of two children, believes needs to start early – especially for girls.

“I just think the girls feel like if they talk about having done really well at something, they feel like they’re bragging. And bragging is considered a negative trait in women,” Daisy tells Shirley.

“Girls often don’t want to accidentally fall into the trap of bragging. So, they just don’t celebrate their own achievements.

“We need to get women and young girls being confident in their abilities and confident in their own innate skills – so that when they are going for jobs, they’re selling themselves as best they can.”

Building resilience in children is something Daisy is passionate about. She’s the Head of Wellbeing at the school she teaches at. Earlier this year, she released a book titled 50 Risks to Take With Your Kids: A Guide to Building Resilience and Independence in the First 10 Years.

Looking to the future, Daisy wants to see society wake up to the gender norms we are establishing early on for children, both in their homes and at school.

“The chores that boys and girls get, the expectations we have of different genders, all of that stuff,” she says.

“If I start – I already do – but if I talk to my eight, and five year old around that, in 10 years’ time, they’re teenagers navigating this.”

Hear more from Lucy and Daisy Turnbull in the latest episode of The Leadership Lessons, a podcast made possible thanks to the support of Salesforce. You can listen here, or subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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