About the

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Did you know?

  • Only half (54%) of Sydney women are in paid employment?
  • And, that 48% of Sydney women in work earn less than $34,000 a year?

These were the grim findings of Sydney Women’s Fund Portrait III Research: Hopes, Dreams and Fears of Sydney women. Designed for Sydney Women’s Fund by leading social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley and Essential Research, the results released in 2018, predicted an emerging crisis of women’s financial vulnerability that we have seen play out during 2020. It affects us all. 

Thanks to funding by a NSW Government, My Community Project grant in the Newtown Electorate in 2019, Sydney Women’s Fund commissioned emerging filmmaking team – Benjamin Strum and Melissa Chan – to dig into the statistics and see what stands in the way of women’s financial independence. 

The result is a four-part documentary series, Sydney Women’s Fund Women’s Work.

It tracks the life of a typical Australian girl, and the impacts from childhood ‘I wasn’t good at maths’, through to gender bias and discrimination at work, negotiating caring responsibilities, and whether she will have enough money to retire. 

This vital resource is the foundation for a broader Sydney Women’s Fund community education program, tackling female financial vulnerability and continuing our work creating opportunities for women and girls in need. 

We want you to be part of that journey – Contact us today on 02 8030 7050 to arrange a screening and a talk at your workplace, social group or school.

And, by donating to support the work of Sydney Women’s Fund, you’ll be part of an incredible community of people helping those having a tough time in our city. 



Kudzai Kanhutu


Benjamin Strum - Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer & Editor

Benjamin Strum is an emerging filmmaker and writer. As director of Women’s Work, Benjamin has brought together all of his talents for this project in the capacity of one of the writers, producers and researchers, and as cinematographer, editor, colorist, and art director of this documentary web-series. Benjamin was formerly the producer and presenter of ‘The Junkee Takeaway’ for Junkee Media and Facebook. As associate producer and camera operator, Benjamin was also a key creative on ‘Country Town Pride,’ and instalment of SBS TV series ‘Untold Australia.’ Earlier in his career, Benjamin filmed short social media documentaries on LGBTQ topics for online publication ‘Heaps Gay.’ You can contact him at @benstrum on Instagram.

Ben Director
Melissa Chan - Writer, Producer & Researcher

Melissa Chan is a strategist and writer. For Sydney Women’s Fund’s Women’s Work, Melissa was the narrator as well as a writer, producer and researcher. Previously, Melissa worked as a management consultant advising ASX100 companies, not-for-profits, and the Prime Minister’s Office in Australia. Melissa’s experience also includes producing and writing The Australian’s Postgraduate Magazine, copywriting for technology companies including Google, Cisco and VMware, and speechwriting. An accomplished problem solver and storyteller, Melissa currently advises on venture capital investment opportunities. You can contact her @thefullestmel on Instagram.

Mel Producer
Nancy Liang - Illustrator

Nancy Liang is a Sydney-based illustrator. Her work focuses on the night tales of urban landscapes, city streets and the often forgotten places of suburbia. She represents these subject matters using drawing and kraft paper cutouts arranged in the visual form of a diorama. Selected clients include The City of Sydney, The Powerhouse Museum and SBS. Her work has also been featured on Colossal, Brown Paper Bag and Hi-Fructose.

Ray Phan - Motion Designer

Ray Phan is a London-based Australian multidisciplinary designer specialised in digital and motion graphics. He is currently working as a lead designer at a social media and entertainment social publisher for a youth audience. On the side, Ray and his friend run ISOLATE Zine, a photography zine that encompasses submitted work created during the pandemic – with the first edition supporting the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and second edition supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Karin Zhou-Zheng - Animator

Karin Zhou-Zheng is a recent animation graduate of University of Technology Sydney (2020) and a freelance animator. Karin worked within 2D Hybrid and 2D animations such as the ‘Aura’ interactive exhibition, Sovereign Hill, Melbourne in 2018. She generously uses the Adobe Creative Suite, particularly After Effects and Photoshop to create beautiful animations. Karin’s aim in her artworks and animation pieces is to create genuine, dynamic and continuously exploring new concepts, messages and visuals

Natalie Thomas - Graphic Designer

Natalie is a creative designer who believes in equality for all and strives to make a positive impact in our world, both environmentally and socially. Natalie is the Senior Designer at Junkee Media, working with brands such as Westpac, Netflix and The Federal Government to visually communicate messages to young Australians. This has followed extensive experience working in various agencies and studios across London and Sydney. With a background in illustration, Natalie likes to bring a personal touch to her work that is relatable and heartfelt, creating real connections between ideas and people

Miles Horler - Composer

Miles Horler is a Sydney based composer, performer, and arranger of music. Having graduated from The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2013, he has since worked with such prominent Australian acts as Jack Colwell, Brendan Maclean, Jonti, Polyphony, and Sekae. As the son of a music teacher, Miles was taught piano at the age of three and began violin lessons at the age of four. He is now versed in a range of different musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, pop and electronica. Miles draws from all of these influences when writing music for the screen

Solai Valliappan - Researcher & Statistician

Solai is an early stage private tech investor. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary. From 2018 she has been part of the ChooseMaths careers ambassador campaign for the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute promoting the potential of pursuing a career in STEM to high school students nationwide.

Luke Stacey - Sound Recordist & Sound Design

Luke Stacey is a professional sound engineer. He is experienced working both on-set as a sound recordist and in various post-production audio roles for the past eight years. Luke has been involved in dozens of documentaries, films and short films, along with hundreds of corporate projects.

Jesse Lane - Second Unit Cinematographer

Jesse Lane is a Cinematographer at heart, currently based in Melbourne, Victoria. While working across a large variety of projects and styles, Jesse always strives to find the empathetic heart of the project and represents that authentically on-screen. Beautiful imagery is part of the occupation, but for him, Cinematography takes on a need for sophistication and appropriation within the project. Jesse is constantly drawn to the ideas brought forward by new projects and Directors, and is always striving towards facilitating the realisation of these ideas


Executive Producer, Jane Jose

Associate Producer, Caroline Fonda

Composer, Miles Horler

Illustrator, Nancy Liang

Motion Designer, Ray Phan

Animator, Karin Zhou-Zheng

Graphic Designer, Natalie Thomas

Animation Supervisors, Matthew Fonda & Clara Marcus

Researcher & Statistician, Solai Valliappan

Sound Recordist & Sound Design, Luke Stacey

Second Unit Cinematographer, Jesse Lane

Website Developer, Anne Homann

Education Consultant, Daisy Turnbull

Special thanks to

Dr Gail Edwards, Archive Consultant

Nicky Verco, Strategic Media Consultant

Monique Cranson, Digital Strategy Consultant

Tonya Greer, oOh! Community Manager

Catherine Edghill, Media Buying Consultant

Erin Mauger, Social Media Buying Consultant

Alessandra Styling, Social Media Assistant

Renee Thomas, Research Assistant

Katie Vials, Communications Assistant

Ally Christophe, Copywriter


To the following organisations for their assistance:

There were many people involved in the making of the Women’s Work documentary series and we thank the interviewees, research conversations, local community members and production crew who have so generously contributed to this successful project. 

We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as the lands we travel through and Elders past, present and emerging.  In particular, we acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, Dharawal Nation, Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation.
Always was, always will be. 

Presented by

Sydney Womens Fund

A voice for women and a force for change

Each year, Sydney Women’s Fund co-designs and fund programs that support locals in need.

As specialists in grassroots frontline programs, we undertake extensive due diligence before partnering with local non-for-profits responding to local community need.

Our programs for women and families support the most vulnerable – programs for young mothers, older women, domestic violence survivors, Indigenous people, migrants and asylum seekers.

We support programs that teach boys to grow into kind, strong men, strengthen mental health and emotional resilience, provide food and shelter, and much, much more.

We operate in Sydney’s most disadvantaged geographies. Our local partners often do not have the resources to promote their work, fundraise, advocate to government, or access experts. Instead, they rely on us and our donors for support.

We are the bridge between corporate, family and individual donors and little known but highly effective grassroots programs.

Together, we have connected 3,000+ donors, and more than $10million in donations, to 350+ non-for-profits in the last decade.

And when you give to local charities with low overheads, your dollar goes further. For example, what started with donations to buy a coffee machine, has grown to fund seven social enterprise businesses and pay more than $145,400 in wages annually while women gain a TAFE qualification and job skills. The COVID restrictions have made our job more important than ever before.

Join Sydney Women’s Fund and help us create more opportunities for local women and girls.