Once you see sexism, discrimination and injustice you can’t unsee it.
I am proud to be a founding member and the General (Wo)Manager of Australian-based non-profit, The Global Women’s Project. We are on a mission to see women equal, empowered, educated and employed. It was a pleasure to sit down with the fabulous folks at Women’s Agenda and answer a few questions!
Growing up, what kind of career did you want to pursue?
Funnily enough I wanted to be a sports journalist, which I suppose at 27 isn’t completely out of the realms of possibility! That said, I’ve always been really passionate about standing up for my rights and the rights of others, so it doesn’t feel like much of a stretch that I’ve ended up working in gender and development. Maybe one day I will end up running the AFL and smashing gender stereotypes in pursuit of my two great loves: footy and feminism.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by anyone who lives an authentic life and is not limited by what others think of them. Every day I am inspired by the women I work with and the women we work for as well as the many fierce and resilient grassroots activists and women who have come before me and without whose sacrifices and courage I wouldn’t be here doing what I do.
Who (apart from you) is most surprised by your achievements?
Some people are probably very surprised to see me being profiled alongside some of Australia’s most unbelievably impressive women on Women’s Agenda, then again some are perhaps not surprised at all. I guess you would have to ask them!
How have women helped shape your success to date?
I have had several incredibly intelligent and compassionate bosses and colleagues who saw enough potential in me that they took it upon themselves to nurture, challenge and encourage me. For that I am extremely grateful and I owe them all a lot.
What qualities do you most admire in a female colleague?
Compassion. Humility. Creativity. Resilience. Badassery.
What’s the key to successfully balancing work and life?
For me there is no real separation between work and life, as if my job is something that I do with my day and then at night I switch off and go about living. I approach what I do as my life’s work and it seeps across every area of my life, often in the most wonderful ways, other times in really frustrating ways. For example, there are TV shows, movie, songs and even people that I used to enjoy or find funny that now I just cannot bring myself to laugh at or take pleasure in. Once you see sexism, discrimination and injustice you can’t unsee it.
I think the more all of the areas of your life are value-aligned, the more energy you have because you have purpose. I’m not really one for balance or doing things in moderation. Try and get me to only eat a few squares of chocolate, it’s impossible. I’m eating the whole goddamn block. I don’t do anything half-assed. In whatever I do, I always try to use my full ass, which is pretty formidable given the aforementioned chocolate consumption.
If you had an afternoon to yourself, how would you spend it?
I would drink cups of tea while reading a couple of thought-provoking articles. Do some work for The Global Women’s Project then I’d head down to the ‘G to watch my beloved Blues after which I would need to drown my sorrows so I’d come home and whack on some outrageously bright lipstick and dance around my house to Beyonce. Heaven!
Who do you regard as your mentor?
I am lucky enough to have many (wo)mentors in my life but I would have to say that my amazing Nan at the ripe old age of 93, and my Mum, are my biggest sources of guidance and wisdom. They are both unbelievably resilient, funny, stylish, smart women whom I admire and respect enormously.
What personal attributes have you used to overcome adversity in your life?
Like everyone I guess, I’ve had my fair share of adversity to overcome. Last year I had, let’s say, an ‘incident’ in Nepal that had me staring my mortality directly in the face. It has been my experience that the moments that nearly break you are the ones that teach you the most and you can’t help but be changed by them. If I had to pinpoint the attributes I rely on and try to cultivate to overcome adversity — I would say a good sense of humour and knowing that whatever doesn’t kill me won’t just make me stronger, but it will make for a bloody good story to tell one day!
If you could make one change to women’s lives, what would it be and why?
I want to see the elimination of men’s violence against women in my lifetime and the gender inequality that is both a cause and a consequence of that. The fact that in some countries women are more likely to be raped than learn how to read is outrageous and should offend each and every one of us to our core.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Challenges are plentiful in this line of work and some of our major headaches are caused by uncertain funding environments, corruption, gender inequality, blatant discrimination and a lack of resources. But the thing I often find the hardest is coming up against people who are apathetic or ignorant to all forms of inequality and discrimination and who don’t treat women as experts in their own life.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to success in your field?
I think it’s important to interrogate why it is that you want to do aid or development work — then commit to learning continuously and opening yourself up to having your ideas challenged. I really like the saying ‘think global, act local.’ It sounds corny but I truly believe there is room for all of us to do our bit to make the world a better place. As much as I’d love to see everyone fighting for gender equality and women’s empowerment, I understand that some people are passionate about turtles, or vegan lipsticks or knitting or engineering. What’s important is that you search for whatever sets your soul on fire and use your skills and resources for good!
Originally published at www.womensagenda.com.au.