Lady Justice is a common symbol at buildings administering justice, but the scales she holds haven't always been balanced when it comes to careers for women in the sector. 

Belinda Farrell has worked in various Justice roles for almost 15 years, and has seen the industry change from a male-dominated arena to women becoming more visible in the corridors of power.

Belinda is one of several women Ventia is highlighting on International Women's Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

She is Ventia's project director for the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Electronic Monitoring contract. The contract is managed by an all women team, both at QPS and at Ventia, and she has enjoyed being able to work with female clients for the past 18 months.

Pictured above: Belinda Farrell (Contract Manager)

Last year Laree Barney joined the Ventia team as Project Coordinator, further boosting the contract's female representation.

The QPS Electronic Monitoring Team is led by Acting Senior Sergeant Lisa Byrne, who has worked for QPS for 22 years across a variety of spaces, including Prosecutions and Police Media. 

As the Project Manager for the GPS Tracking Bail Program, Lisa is supported by both Senior Project Officer Sylvie Dickson and Detective Senior Constable Helen Godfrey.  

Sylvie was seconded from the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport and has been with the project since its inception.  

This team manage in excess of 210 bailees across the state and are required to liaise with various internal and external stakeholders working through very challenging issues.  

Pictured above: Laree Barney (Project Coordinator)

An all female team

Although the all-female QPS team was unintentional, Lisa said it had been a great fit with the Ventia all-female team. 

Belinda said working with women had a different dynamic to a team consisting of men.

I've found working in a team of women there's mutual respect and encouragement and we empower and support each other to take that next step in our careers.

"There's also a greater understanding of family commitments and work life balance and being able to pick up kids from school or look after sick children is expected and accommodated."

Belinda has a psychology and behavioural science degree and has worked in corrections, the judiciary and immigration.

She recently made the move from Brisbane to Bendigo in regional Victoria where she will continue to manage the contract until she takes time out to care for her new baby in April.

She is keen to further her career in Ventia and hopes to lead a team again as she did in her last role, even if it's outside the justice sphere.


Developing female leadership 

To improve her leadership skills, Belinda began the Women Leading program last year, which is a key initiative in Ventia's strategy to promote more women to senior roles.

About 60 women at Ventia across Australia and New Zealand are participating in a series of workshops over several months. Topics include: networking; negotiating; influencing; creating your personal brand; and understanding your strengths to drive career success. 

Participants are assigned a coach to work with between sessions.

Belinda said the program had been a valuable tool to help women reach their leadership potential.

"It's helped me realise what I bring to the table and highlights what I can offer in different situations," Belinda said.

"Female leaders often feel passive and soft skills are not seen as strengths.'

This course provides women with the confidence to use their skills and helps position you for your next role.


International Women's Day is held globally each year on 8 March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a call to action to accelerate women's equality. This year's theme is #breakthebias.