March 8th marks International Women’s Day 2022 with the theme, Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow – a premise that recognises the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are working to change the climate of gender equality and build a sustainable future.
Being the mother of five children, three daughters and two sons, I am a firm believer that gender equality starts at home. Families are at the forefront for change. From breaking down gender stereotypes to sharing everyday household chores, heads us in the right direction for a glorious gender quality future.
My daughters think nothing of washing the car or tinkering under the bonnet. My sons can whip up a meal of mouth-watering goodness in a flash. They are not so keen when it comes to the vacuum cleaner, but over time have learned to suck it up. Onwards and upwards as we continue to strive for the right gender balance.
Gender equality is equally as important in schools and workplaces. From pre-school to adult education, women continue to encounter some form of gender stereotyping and discrimination.
To normalise progressive gender attitudes and behaviours, schools can function as platforms for change. Teacher training could potentially be a gateway to lasting gender equitable behaviours.
The workplace, sadly, is a long way from achieving true gender equality. Women are generally paid less, promoted less frequently and tend to work in different sectors than men.
Women are more likely to move to part-time employment or reject a career promotion to have more time for motherhood when their children are young. When returning to work full-time it is generally on a lower wage compared to the wage they would have earned had they stayed on in the original job.
Gender equality is equally as important in the sporting arena. There is no doubt we should be celebrating the phenomenal rise of women’s sports, but there is still plenty of work to be done to bring it in line with men. Male sports continue to dominate most major areas. Pay disparity, exposure to media and fans, and overall recognition, all lean heavily towards men’s sports as we continue to strive for respect, recognition, and equality.
As a woman who has suffered unspeakable abuse and trauma in my life, I have received my fair share of bias, but I have learnt to become a powerfully resilient and resourceful creature, able to move from the challenging events of my life, change my perspective and heal.
I have collaborated, connected, and shared with the world my stories, even though they are difficult to tell.
My keynote presentations revolve around changing people’s perspectives. It is not about what happens to you in life but how you choose to perceive it. Once we change our perspective, we realise how powerful it is. It can shape our reality. By realising our own strength, bias disappears, and the world is a better place.
As Helen Reddy sang: If I have to, I can do anything, I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.
Celebrate all that you are. You really are wonderful. Happy International Women’s Day.