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International Women’s Day is always a good opportunity to connect globally to women everywhere. I’ve already kicked off this week of festivities by speaking on Sunday at a gathering of women in Byron Bay, and have a fabulous week ahead speaking at events and keynotes around the country. I love this time of the year – there’s something really powerful when women come together in solidarity, and when there is a space for men to hear and consider how gender balance works for everyone!

As we know, empowering women is at the heart of all good public policy, and lots of evidence has been collected to prove this. Better representation of women in politics, organisations, C Suites and boards is actually great for business. Yet I get a bit torn about the whole idea of ‘making the case’ to include women fully in the public sphere. It’s as if the human justice aspect of it isn’t quite enough – we need to come up with the metrics to justify why we need women in positions of leadership and authority in our institutions and communities.

In any case, how I contextualise the work ahead for women is to settle in to it. I’m not going anywhere, and neither is the arc of history bending toward justice. 

So in reflecting on International Women’s Day 2019 I’m present to the incredible gratitude I feel for the amazing women who have shaped my life. My top 5 thank you’s go to:

  1. My mum: Mum had 7 kids, (6 of them under the age of 7!), and even with her own issues and battles she kept us safe and fed. She raised a close knit, loyal, loving, honest family, and I think that’s pretty amazing.
  2. My girlfriends: amazing women, spread out all over the world. Always there to lift me up, giving me wise counsel, home truths – and lots of fun and frivolity!
  3. So many women from across Africa, South Asia, Latin America and Indigenous Australia: your strength, resilience and actions have paved the way for huge social change. Daily you catalyse change in your own communities. You are my constant inspiration.
  4. Joan Holmes: the founding president of The Hunger Project. An uncompromising leader – when it comes to the end of hunger and leading a purpose driven organisation she does not back down! She taught me to be willing to give up what you know and what you’re applauded for, for that which truly makes a difference. 
  5. My own daughter: Kind, generous, smart and incredibly honest. Plus she makes me laugh. 

Who are the women you are most grateful for this International Women’s Week?Forward them this email and share with them why you are thankful for them. Tell them what you admire about them, and why you are happy you know them. Lift them up! 

My list doesn’t even touch on those pioneers who fought so I could vote; lobbied so I could access my full reproductive rights; agitated so I could buy a house/drive a car/move in the world; and braved the way so my journey wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. What huge shoulders we all stand upon!

Like they were for me, I am committed to being a change maker for future generations of humans. What about you? 

Happy International Women’s Day!