While International Women’s Day can bring up mixed feelings for many, the day that champions women’s rights speaks to all of us a little differently.
International Women’s Day can mean different things to different people – some see it as an opportunity to celebrate how far society has come in advancing opportunities for women, while others use the day to remind us of the gender stereotypes and imbalances that still exist.
It’s true, gender inequality still impacts Australian women today and while the gender pay gap has improved, women are still not at parity with men.
One of the things we have noticed at SHE DEFINED over the years is that International Women’s Day has become a day that brings people together to support and empower the women around them, and that can only be a positive thing.
Ultimately, the day means different things to different people.
Whether it’s looking back or looking forward, we asked several Australian women to get their perspective on what International Women’s Day means to them.
Sheree Rubinstein, founder and CEO of One Roof
“The World Economic Forum estimates that it could still take well over two centuries to achieve true gender equality worldwide. That is a crazy statistic and one that I just can’t accept,” said Sheree Rubinstein, founder and CEO of One Roof, a co-working space for women-led businesses.
“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to bring these issues to the world stage, to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go, to celebrate women and drive collective action. Now, more than ever, we need to work towards an inclusive, diverse and equal world.
“International Women’s Day reminds and motivates me to keep pushing, working and advocating because I am so damn determined to see us achieve gender equality in my lifetime.”
Caroline Guillemain-Brunne of Organise.Curate.Design.
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate! As women we spend the year working hard, either in our day to day lives or in pursuing our purpose whilst working towards the greater goals of women collectively,” said Caroline Guillemain-Brunne, founder of life assistant service Organise.Curate.Design.
“IWD represents a day to come together, to celebrate our achievements, our sisterhood and the beauty of our unity.
“It also serves as a day to reflect, to turn to those within our sisterhood who require additional support and to reach out to them. As women, we are united but there are discrepancies that can be discussed on this important day to further our internal equality.
“Lastly, the day is a time to pave the way for our young women, to be intentional with our positions of power, and to think about how we can make a real difference for their futures.”
Bianca Serratore, founder of Coux Lifestyle
“For me, International Women’s Day is a celebration of the women who’ve gone before us, the ones alongside us, and the generation we’re raising,” said Bianca Serratore, founder of online homewares store Coux Lifestyle.
“I’m also reminded on this day of the responsibility – having my own daughter has given me even more reason to celebrate but I think about what we still need to do to ensure she has a future that is safe and full of opportunity.
“We need to keep empowering, educating and encouraging the next generation – our girls and boys – that the future is equal.”
Natalie Nunn, director of Giant Management
“To me, International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate how far we have come as a society towards gender equality; the number of women thriving in our society is definitely something to stop and celebrate,” said Natalie Nunn, director of modelling agency Giant Management.
“I am very proud to be part of a generation of women who are proving that you can choose to work in either industry or in the home, or both, and that being a woman no longer pre-determines your role in society. That said, there is still a long way to go until we reach true equality and IWD is a great opportunity to stop and consider how we can help make this happen.
“Personally, IWD is also a day that I reflect with pride on running a business that employs seven incredible women and represents over 150 women and girls to achieve their ambitions.
“Our business could not run as it does without the unique skills and passion of the women who run it. These women continue to inspire me every day and prove that by taking a modern approach to equality and workplace flexibility, women are better placed than ever before to achieve what they want on their own terms.”
Jane Kou, founder and CEO of Bring Me Home
“For me, International Women’s Day is all about acknowledging, celebrating and empowering women all around the world for the incredible things they’ve achieved, the little wins they’ve had throughout their life journey, and the important roles they’ve played in everyone’s lives,” said Jane Kou, founder and CEO of food rescue app Bring Me Home.
“It’s to celebrate our mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends, spouses, business owners, teachers, doctors – every woman out there. They’ve all made an impact and we should all appreciate it.”
Genevieve Day, founder of Day Management
“International Women’s Day, to me, is a celebration of female achievement throughout history, acknowledging what a long way we’ve come, and how far we still have to go,” said Genevieve Day, founder of talent agency Day Management.
“I’m so lucky to work in a female-led industry that champions women and how we are disrupting the media, PR and marketing landscape. However, this day also highlights that we are still striving for equality, especially in business and boardrooms.
“I also see this day as a stepping stone, as ideally we won’t need a stand-alone day to celebrate female achievement. I hope that it becomes the norm and eventually gender isn’t a factor at all.”
Suzanne Chadwick, business and branding coach
“Like anything, making the time to focus on key issues will always make a difference,” said Suzanne Chadwick, a business, branding and speaker coach at The Connection Exchange.
“With 2020 focusing on Generational Equality – Realising Women’s Rights, I think it’s so important for us to look at what we are doing individually and collectively to impact and influence or raise awareness about inequality, both locally and internationally.
“There are so many women without equality and I’m sure that we take it for granted here in Australia. So, whilst The Connection Exchange supports OneGirl, a charity to provide equality, education, and support for young girls and women in Sierra Leone, the question I will be asking myself is: what else can we/I do?”