We can all choose to challenge and call out inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
The 2021 theme for International Women's Day is #choosetochallenge. We asked the women of NWO what this means for them.
This occurs mostly by flight attendants who take a quick glance and assume, rather than just offering a friendly ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ and avoiding their own embarrassment when they realise their mistake.
Once, the same flight attendant who greeted me to the plane was so embarrassed she could barely offer me tea or coffee later in the flight.
It’s silly and avoidable, and I find it quite funny and entertaining to see which way it will go.
For others, though, it can be an awful embarrassment that can easily be avoided by removing titles.
So, this International Women’s Day, I’m choosing to challenge all of us to end their use.
I’m a proud female but I don’t feel the need to be referred to as madame, ma’am, mademoiselle, etc. It’s old-fashioned and classist.
And as a proud LGBTI woman, I am extra aware that titles can isolate and sideline—not encourage and respect—people for whom gender and identity has been hard-won.
Let’s talk our walk. Let’s end titles for good.
The older I get and the more the modern world allows us to see through the structures of society, economics and politics, I realise the conversation is really about finding the confidence to listen to those voices.
You see it every day in business, TV, music, media and social situations that when there is a woman who stands up and says how she feels, she is perceived as “too much”.
I am guilty at times of not hearing other female voices and, worse than anything, sometimes of not even hearing my own voice.
Despite thinking of myself as a very headstrong, intelligent and confident person, I tell myself to “tone it down” because I’m being “too much”.
I want to see people rising to the challenge of actively listening to those female voices and perspectives, not because they are female but because they are equal.
Every person should be offered the same platform, the same ears and the same opportunities—if we choose to take them.
They challenged previously held societal norms, at great personal and physical cost, to give us the right to vote, the right to marry who we like, the right to choose our own careers, to be independent and to move closer to gender equality.
The spirit of these pioneers lives on, and the hard and uncomfortable work continues in many forms with each of us.
All of us can keep choosing to challenge each other—woman to man, woman to woman, man to man—in our everyday lives.
Here’s to the mums, dads and those very special teachers who nurture our kids, lead by example and challenge the next generation to grow into people who treat each other with respect, patience and compassion.
Let’s keep championing and supporting each other to achieve true gender equality.
“What kind of a profit are you making?”
“Is it worth it?”
Especially if you, like myself, also work a full-time job and the side hustle itself is almost equally as full-time—the questions surrounding the value of your extracurricular will frequently plague you.
Holding the worth of something solely on whether or not it’s profitable can be a slippery slope of creating unattainable goals and unrealistic expectations on yourself and your business.
What I get out of my side hustle both professionally and personally far surpasses any financial goals.
It’s an outlet for my creativity and a way to express myself. Plus, it helps me to be more creative in my day job.
The two jobs feed into each other and without either or both I would struggle to feel like myself.
Success from my side hustle is measured in the praise of happy customers, the smiles and comments I get from people who pass my stuff in the streets, and the self-satisfaction I get from creating something from an idea in my head to something you can physically wear or hold.
Sure, getting paid is also great and I dream of the day when it can become my full-time job. But, for now, my success is much deeper than a dollar amount.
This International Women’s Day, I’m choosing to challenge the notion that wealth equals success.
Let’s choose to open our mind to what success looks like and celebrate the amazing things we’re doing.
Gen X women were born in the 70s and 80s when the ideals of having it all—stable marriage, perfect family, lucrative work—came disguised as female empowerment. What crippling expectations.
These women defied mathematics. There are only 24 hours in a day and having it all takes at least 36.
They challenged the gender norms of the time and proved that, in fact, you can have it all.
Because of that, I don’t have to be the perfect mum with the perfect kids. I don’t have to be married to the dreamiest spouse. I don’t have to cook like Nigella or clean like Marie Kondo. I don’t have to climb the corporate ladder and smash through glass ceilings.
I certainly don’t need to do all of that at the same time.
And because I’m lucky enough to work for an incredible Gen X woman, I don’t have to work twice as hard to earn the same as my male colleague.
Instead, I get to choose my values and the kind of woman I want to be.
To all you Gen X women who bravely went before: thank you. Because you worked so hard to challenge, I get to choose.
But don’t mistake peace-keeping for peace-making.
Peace-keeping keeps factions apart with no expectation of resolution. It’s maximum effort expended in a passive, zero sum game. It reinforces apathy, privilege and anger.
Me? I’m a peace-maker. The very act of making peace—and making peace, and making peace—is dynamic and potent, shining a light where inequality and injustice rob people of true peace.
Peace-making drives me to lean in and bear witness to people’s stories with compassion and empathy.
It compels me to respond with strategies and actions that can create lasting change.
It urges me to have uncomfortable conversations to elicit greater understanding.
It impels me own my blind spots so I can grow in gentleness—and, in turn, create even greater peace.
There’s nothing passive about being a peace-maker, and peace-making never ends.
In fact, as I consider the broken world my children are now entering as young adults, my peace-making is only increasing in volume—as is my understanding that peace is a human right and that, as far as it depends on me, I must give it voice and life.
And so I do.
Every photo is meticulously chosen out of hundreds taken, every smile critiqued, and every caption drafted and redrafted. Anything less than perfection simply won’t do—I have an audience to please, you see.
Women have fought since the beginning of time to have our voices heard and taken seriously. And now we have an audience, they’re out for blood. It’s the little things—misusing terminology, Facetune gone wrong, dating too many people or not enough—the list goes on. Our audience will fault us for anything in order to discredit us.
The worst part? Often, that audience is me. Sometimes it’s you. It’s all of us women at one point or another, not because we mean to, but because we are trained to. We are taught we must tear other women down in order to lift ourselves up.
When we let ourselves believe that our own success—or self-security, or popularity, or whatever validation we seek—is dependent on the destruction of other women, we all suffer.
We don’t have to be perfect to be valid. Our voice carries weight, even when it wavers.