Today, the 8th March is International Women’s Day!
For over a century now the world has been recognizing the achievements of women but more so than ever we are truly standing up and celebrating the successes and the impact of WOMEN! International Women’s Day states that its’ objective “is all about celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level”, but it is also marks a call for “accelerating gender parity”.
For many years, well since I was 17 to be exact, I have always worked in male dominant industries (finance, legal, recruitment, mining and energy). I performed what could be deemed a ‘very stereotypical woman’s role’ of an admin or a secretary, as it is more knowingly termed. Did I love these roles? Well, let me pause and reflect, as my answer is one of many variables.
All my young life I have always adhered to the rules! I have taken direction, and I must admit that I take direction very well, but I absolutely ‘despise’ being told what to do. Each person, I believe, has an innate mindset to be a ‘risk taker’ whatever your gender and it is that penchant for risk and thinking outside the box that will determine if you are someone who makes an impact in your daily environment, in whatever capacity that may be. Through reflection I have noted that the successes in my career have been with the people who have given me genuine direction but who have allowed me to grow, learn, succeed and to further my capabilities. Through my working career, prior to getting a terminal prognosis, I strived to be a leader within the boundaries of my profession. Administration was not enough for me, I won’t lie, and for me there was very little excitement in it, so I dabbled my hat in events, recruitment, mentoring and management. I burned the candle at both ends, I aimed to be everything I could possibly be and I chose to never disappoint. Does this sound familiar…?
Women throughout the times have had many ‘traditional nurturing’ roles. For some this is their calling in life, for others there is a duty or life purpose that drawers them in a direction that is unfamiliar. Today it was announced that on a world scale, Australia is listed as being the 18th most desirable and successful country to work in as a woman. Imagine all that I have expressed above about my own working career and how unbelievably lucky I have been to have had an opportunity to work… be paid and be paid well, let alone to grow, to work alongside men as an equal and to have desires to succeed and further myself professionally and personally. In today’s society there are still nations that do not have what seems like basic human gender rights. It is easy to forget this when we are caught up in our own day-to-days.
When I reflect on my life, the most defining moment that I recall where I gave myself the opportunity to really be me and grow on a personal level, was when at the age of 23 I decided to travel all by myself. I started off small and did a trip to New Zealand, then a year later at 24, I quit my job in recruitment, said goodbye to my family and friends and took off to England for two (2) years with a few thousand dollars in my bank account, barely knowing a soul and going from a relatively ‘sheltered and introverted’ upbringing to living straight off the cuff with a house full of foreign boys, who became my overseas family. I took a risk. I flourished. The adventurer was born and I learned to have faith in myself, without really realizing. Up until that point, the only person allowing me to hold myself back was myself, until cancer crept into my life. Lessons had to be learnt and I really had to dig deep to truly understand who I am as a woman, without grasping to traditional roles.
Through my life I have been honoured to meet some of the most amazing, inspirational, encouraging and just downright kick-arse cool women! I’ve also met some amazing, inspirational, encouraging and just downright kick-arse cool men also! I do greatly miss the social surrounds of a working environment and the beautiful friendships I have made within that space but since relinquishing my corporate life to focus on myself, I have also discovered to deeply respect the people who lead me to where I am today and the beautiful nurturing and soul-supporting communities that I am now a part of, as I learn to explore the deeper side of my life purpose.
Let me take a moment to celebrate the beautiful, courageous and passionate women through time that I hold deeply in my heart.
I owe my life to the woman who honestly and thoroughly monitors me daily and who has given much of her own life to devoting it to melanoma and oncology research, Dr Victoria Atkinson! I am forever indebted for her knowledge, her straight shooting and for being a leader in her field.
The amazing Dr Georgina Long, who incredibly similar to Dr Atkinson, has devoted her life to melanoma research. Two amazing women, making an impact to many lives in Australia!
Frida Kahlo, my inspiration throughout life. Forever a teacher, a healer, a beauty and who lives on through her gift.
Anne Frank, mature beyond her years! She gave us the gift of understanding pure humanity without religious judgment.
Audrey Hepburn for her elegant beauty and generosity throughout her life, incredibly stylish until the end.
Mrs Patricia Arnold for making learning fun! Forever my favourite school teacher!
Judi Dench for continually showing the men that you can make it as a mature woman in the acting world, be respected and do a damn fine job while being elegantly courageous!
Maya Angelou for her incredible professions and life experiences and for teaching us all the lesson of humility through her writings. Maya’s honesty is what every writer aspires to!
Jane McDonald, my former boss, the Chair of my Foundation and my beautiful and most wise and wickedly funny Scottish friend! Jane has the biggest heart in this very big world. I am forever in awe and truly indebted for her friendship.
Jessica Ainscough our wellness warrior. Her wings came too early but her messages will continue to be heard.
Kris Carr for openly giving the world “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips” and empowering me, and many others to practice positivity amongst adversity. Kris’ heart knows no limitations!
Elizabeth Gilbert, courageously realistic, curious and profound! I have never in my life heard anyone quote as accurately and as passionately as Liz! Her messages are beautiful, she reveals herself as a woman who has lived far beyond her years on earth. My life would be complete if I could express myself as eloquently as Liz!
The women in the arts and music like PJ Harvey, Courtney Love, Veruca Salt, The Breeders, Sarah Blasko, L7, Amy Winehouse, Sonic Youth, Sia, Florence, Madonna, Cyndi and the many, many others that continue to inspire us daily.
Yvette Luciano, forever my beautiful teacher!
And what would a girl be without the wonderful women in her life, her sister, her mum, her friends and family. It is often said that you are influenced most by the people closest to you. To the women that choose me to be in your lives and who I in turn choose myself, I am forever grateful that I can humbly call you… my friends.
I may celebrate you today, but I will appreciate you always!
With love, light and gratitude xx
Photo credit: The Photo Booth Collective