If you happened to be driving around the city on Sunday morning, you might have spotted a swarm of bright pink joggers flooding the story bridge. Among these rose-coloured runners was Daiana Yoon and a team of other young women from UQ.

On the 7th of March, the UQ Women’s Network switched their networking attire for their running shoes, raising money for breast cancer research. The group of 15 girls joined 10,000 others running, walking and skipping their way across the story bridge to fund practical support services and life-saving breast cancer research.

15 women pose in pink shirts after compling the International Women's Day Fun Run supporting breast cancer research

I spoke to Daiana after her run about the UQ Women’s Network, International Women’s Day and what it’s like to be an aspiring young professional.

When they’re not jogging the city at the crack of dawn in head-to-toe pink, the UQWN runs professional development events and workshops to support UQ students.

‘It came about quite recently - Bella Richards, who created the network in 2019, noticed a gap in the student community: there was nothing to inspire young professional women in male dominated degrees,’ says Daiana, a fourth year Law and Business student.

The UQWN was born in response to the lack of female support and representation in the professional community. Since it’s conception in 2019, the UQWN has become a supportive and inclusive place for young women to feel empowered in a professional environment. The UQWN is open to students from all degrees interested in building skills and connections.

Daiana is a sub-executive in the UQWN, where she uses helps to organise sponsors and speakers and contributes to event planning.

For Daiana, the network has been an opportunity to grow her confidence and meet like-minded people. While she makes it all look easy now, she remembers being overwhelmed at the start of her degree.

“As a first year, transitioning from high school can be really difficult. Societies like the UQWN are great ways to make friends and develop professional skills at the same time.”

‘I feel much more confident now – I was always afraid to show up to events by myself or network. Having a friendly group of women with shared values has made me feel much more comfortable and empowered to join in these conversations.’

‘Developing skills like networking has definitely made interviews much less daunting.’

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I asked Daiana about the women who inspire her.

As a law student, her first answer came easily – ‘Ruth Bader Ginsberg, for sure. I’m inspired by her fearless and courageous attitude. As a woman in law, she’s inspired me to stand up for what I believe in and be fearless in reaching my goals.’

‘And, of course, my mum. She’s so selfless and will always put other people first. We moved from Korea when I was really young, and it really shows the lengths that she would go to for our family. My dad spent long periods of time away, so she raised us by herself a lot of the time.’

The UQ Women’s Network is holding one of their flagship events this Wednesday, called ‘Lead on Purpose’. ‘Lead on Purpose’ is a panel discussion of professionals from different disciplines who will be in conversation about their careers, with opportunities to network and ask questions.

You can join the UQWN and learn more about other UQ clubs and societies on the Student Union page: https://www.uqu.com.au/connecting-u/clubs-societies 

By Rosie Bensley