By Almira Anthony
Brand and Communications Manager at rhipe
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” – G.D Anderson
As I reflect this International Women’s Day, this powerful statement epitomizes what the day means to me. It goes without question that women have always been strong. But throughout history, men have always been perceived as the strong ones. While we may still have a long way to go, it’s great to see so many driven, motivated and fearlessly authentic women carving out their own paths, to make a difference.
This movement is all about equality and solidarity – women supporting women and using their platform to trailblaze and encourage other women to be strong too. But feminism is not just about women – men are also part of that equation in the quest to achieve equality for all, irrespective of gender.
It’s great to see that this year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge focuses on encouraging everyone, both men and women, to call out inequality when they see it. These are not issues that women can solve alone. It takes a village to carve out meaningful change.
We should all hope to be as fearless as the courageous women who chose to challenge, by using their voices to ignite conversation in recent weeks about sexual assault. Those coming forward to share their stories are empowering other women to speak up and stamp out the silence that often surrounds these incidents.
The spotlight has shone brightly on the issue of coercive control over the past year, spearheaded by the bravery of Hannah Clarke’s family after her life, along with the lives of her three young children, ended abruptly in the saddest of circumstances. Silence is what continues this vicious cycle. Yet the Clarke family was brave enough to speak out and campaign to recognise coercive control as a crime.
Before Hannah’s story, Rosie Batty will go down in Australian history as a leader of the women’s movement, propelling family violence into the media spotlight after her son tragically lost his life. She too refused to be silent. Because Rosie chose to challenge, she began an important dialogue that has driven significant change in the way family violence is perceived and reported on in the media.
I am lucky to be surrounded by a band of amazing women in both my professional and personal life. Smart, passionate, inspirational women who are innovating, leading and lifting each other up. They help me realise that having the confidence to challenge in the workplace, within friendship circles or beyond is healthy, not intimidating. That having the courage to live authentically is imperative, no matter what others may think.
As the mother of a young son, I know that the most importing thing I can do to change the world is to ensure he is raised to treat women with respect and to stand up for equality for all. I proudly raise him on my own, knowing he will be my legacy. I will do everything in my power to encourage him to have the conviction to do what is right and to #ChooseToChallenge. Collectively we can all make a difference.