On International Women’s Day…

On this International Women’s Day, I humbly and heartfully acknowledge the traditional owners of this land. I bow down to the elders and women of this land and to my own heritage, both past and present and I pay my respects to emerging leaders. This land, which has nurtured, taught and held me – always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

This part of Melbourne where I live and in which I write this post, do not have a formally Recognised Traditional Owner group. Approximately 37% of the state of Victoria fall under this category. I am uncertain as to what this means but it is a significant proportion of the state where we cannot specifically acknowledge the people of the country and nation.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EachforEqual, and as I sit and reflect on what it means for me, as a Woman, as an Asian-Australian, as a Person of Colour, I think of the trailblazers, leaders and ceiling breakers before me. I see it as a call of action for the acceleration of gender equality. I see it as a stark reminder of what the collective, ie individuals, community, society, country, continent, world still needs to think, behave, act and spend their resources on to enable this.

#EachforEqual means the following for me:

  • A proportionate representation of Asian-Australian Women in senior leadership positions. With 12.2% of the Australian population with Asian heritage, and assuming 50% of the population identify as female, this should equate to 6.1% of senior leadership positions, and this spans across ALL senior leadership positions, not those stereotypically related to finance. This applies to all sectors – private, government, charity and university.
  • Government and community services designed to serve the ethnically and culturally diverse population. In the state of Victoria in Australia, 50% of the population were either born or have parents born overseas. Currently a lot of services being offered provide only 1 perspective, while ignoring the other parts of the society. eg many psychological services do not provide adequate support (which at times, can be harmful) to those of ethnically diverse backgrounds. Take a look at what Asami Koike, Founder of Shapes and Sounds is creating to start to address this.
  • Significant investment into services in supporting Indigenous women and mothers who are facing family violence – not more beds in prisons.
  • People of Colour given credit for work that has been done – Tarana Burke, an African American Woman started the #MeToo campaign in 2007, but did not receive the credit due when the movement gained traction 10 years later.
  • Leaders recognising and bringing the qualities of culturally diverse women into the 2020 Leadership landscape.

My journey into #EachforEqual is in its infancy. I feel that while I have been developing my own ways of creating a more equal society over the past few decades, I am barely scratching the surface. There is much to heal, to learn and to action.

And we need to act now.

Image by Jean Sum

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