Happy International Women's Day

One day to celebrate women, but a life time to create a change.

International Women’s Day is a global day for all of us to recognise and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. And also marks a call to action to stimulate gender balance.

It makes me feel privileged to be growing up in a era where women are having a voice, taking control of their lives and following their passion. To think what it used to be honestly saddens me and only makes me feel more determined to make a change.

Image of girls undertaking  Girls Academy  school-based engagement program.

Image of girls undertaking Girls Academy school-based engagement program.

A journey to the past

I think it’s important to recognise what used to be for women and acknowledge how far we’ve come.

In recent year, I remember my grandmother telling me when she was younger that she did not receive the level of education like her brothers. The men were to work and the women lined up for marriage. Coming from a Macedonia with little education, she never had the opportunity to learn to speak or write English. And being an 77 year old woman, she still continues her life as a house-wife, the only way she knows how to live. She cooks, cleans, looks after her family and repeats. I couldn’t even imagine living the life she did, especially during the prime years of her life. She knew hard work all too well, but never had the opportunity to work in a job the way we do today. The day I told her I got my first job, she was surprised to hear the opportunity I had, considering what it used to be like for her and the roles women typically did. I think even today she gets amazed seeing women take on professions that were stereotypically the ‘men’s job.’

I guess it was like this for centuries, right up until World War 2 when the women stepped up into the workforce, replacing the men conscripted into war. Even though they got a taste of the workforce and enjoyed this independence, they resumed their role in the household after the war ended. Their lives were dictated by society. I guess you could say women’s lives were like a story book, except they didn’t have the opportunity write and control their fate. It was written for them by society.

It wasn’t until decades later, we saw major changes for women’s rights in society including the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960s. Women continued to fight for equality in the 70s and influential women rose in the 80s with Margaret Thatcher as the first female leader of a Western country. When we look back on how far we have come over the last couple of decades, we have seen major progression for women. Gone are the days when women were restricted to domestic work and family life. Today, women can be anything they want to be!

We continue to push the boundaries, break down barriers and eliminate the gender stereotypes that once were. It is inspiring to see female entrepreneurs rise in the business world, and soar in medical, science, engineering professions, sport and trades. The women in our family and these female leaders inspire and motivate future generations of women and remind us that our possibilities are endless.

The Strive for Balance

In support of International Women’s Day, there’s something you can do to get involved. Not just for today, but for the rest of the year! Strike a #BalanceforBetter pose and share your message on social media. Even though this campaign is only dedicated for the year, our actions to achieve balance continue for our lifetime. We should never stop trying to make our world more equal and a better place to live no matter what your gender.

Everyone has to play a part to achieve equality and create balance. Although, we still have a long way to go to achieve balance and equality, I believe that if we continue to support this movement we will create a better, brighter future for everyone.