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