International Women's Day 2018 #pressforprogress

Posted: 2018-03-08 02:06:12

 

Today is International Women’s Day, and it’s expected to be one of the largest yet, with stories around gender diversity and equality across multiple industries making headlines around the globe. The desire to empower women is growing rapidly, triggered by public discourse and a rising determination for change.

What started as a protest march for women’s rights over 100 years ago with the Suffragettes has amassed to a globally recognized movement celebrating the achievements of women, and pushing for equality. Women have achieved some incredible things and made huge strides in the fight for equality – but the fight’s not over yet, and the road ahead of us is sure to have its’ challenges.  We must remember to take stock of the many issues women still face, in and out of the workplace.

Every day at Stopgap, we get to work with inspiring organizations and leaders. Not for Profits like Barnardos Australia who celebrate the incredible achievements of Mum’s every year and provide support programs for women & children who have been impacted by neglect & violence. Educational institutes like Laureate Australia, whose mission is to empower their students & staff to drive positive change and support equal opportunities across their campuses’.

Here at Stopgap, a female-led organization founded by Claire Owen & now operating in our 25th year, we recognize the importance of role models and acknowledge the need for ongoing discussions within our personal and professional networks of women. We need to be helping each other to cultivate & build confidence, celebrating acts of courage and championing one another’s success.

It’s time to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. International Women's Day belongs to all groups, collectively, everywhere.

As part of our International Women’s Day content series, we reached out to eight senior marketing & advertising professionals –both male and female- and asked each to respond to three questions pertaining to IWD and the impact women have had in their lives. 

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you?

2.Who has been the most important woman in your life?

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Below you will find their responses, and we’d like to expressly thank each one of them for agreeing to participate. 

So today, how are you going to #pressforprogress? Challenge stereotypes and bias? Influence the beliefs and actions of others? Forge positive visibility of women? Whatever you choose to do, let’s collectively choose to stand together in gender parity, and trail blaze forward.

In solidarity,

Team Stopgap. 

Claire Owen

Founder & Leader of Vision & Values, Stopgap

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

We need to continue to build on the efforts and sacrifices made by the Suffragettes back in the 1900's. Biologically women have a vital role to play in this world - but that's not all they're good for. Women around the world need to be given every opportunity to find success and fulfillment - gender stereotypes should be a thing of the past.

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

Like many women, I have to say my mother. She was a great role model and taught me to believe that anything was possible but also that if you wanted something you had to work for it.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Three things; 1) Not to be afraid if you can't see your future clearly mapped out - if you don't get on the road you'll never know what's around the corner, 2) Never be too proud not to ask for help, advice or guidance from people you come across in your working life and 3) You deserve to love your job - if you don't then it's not the right one for you.

Jodie Gacitua

Marketing Communications Manager, Catholic Healthcare

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

A day to celebrate the amazing achievements of women in our society, what’s not to love. Personally, it is a day where I like to stop and to reflect on how everyday women have made such impact in our society. 

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

Not one but many. All my wonderful female friends who are slightly more senior in years and who have managed to carve out a successful career while having a young family.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

There are two. 1) If you think you can, then do it. 2) You can have it all but maybe not all at the same time, your career is a marathon not a sprint.

Sharnelle Magee

Communications and National Programs Manager, Barnardos Australia

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

As a young girl, my Mum would speak about this day and talk about how important women are to society and the need to obtain a good education and give back to our community. One would have thought that by now, women who make up half of the world’s population, would not need a day to amplify their gender, contribution, and their humanity but clearly, we do. In many countries, women are still been subjected to appalling conditions and hold few rights. At the other end of the spectrum, women have rights but the ill-treatment has persisted primarily in the workforce and largely under the radar.  As we’ve seen recently, however, change has come from surprising corners. Change has been initiated by women who have overcome their fears to speak their truths and create movements such as the #metoo and #timesup campaigns. It is unfortunate, it takes fame and fortune for people to notice – but if that’s how we can galvanize popular support into forcing changes that will endow all women with rights, respect and equality so be it. Along the way, we should never forget that women, with little profile and less money, have fought monumental, long-term and daily battles to be allowed to speak their truths and to be believed.

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

My Mother, she is totally amazing, but another woman I have looked up to for many years is Lucille Ball apart from her humor the other side of Lucille always got buried. Lucille was a highly intelligent woman and one of the few females who ran her own company and was highly successful in a sector that was “cut throat”. Her show ‘I Love Lucy’ almost did not make it on screen because it would “cost too much”. So, she took a pay cut and with her husband formed a production company to retain full ownership rights. The series became one of the most successful shows in that era and is still popular on re-runs. The most important thing was she never lost her sense of humor despite the odds against her.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

I’d like to see women create a professional bond, a sorority, that matches the fraternity that our male counterparts seem to form. An interaction that encourages teamwork, that not every woman is a competitor. An interaction that encourages collegiality, mentoring and encouragement when things go wrong. To have the courage to support and advocate on behalf of colleagues and to speak up - when “you see something wrong - say something.” Remember, it is always about teamwork and that’s one of the most valuable contributions anyone can make.

James Horstman

Head of Segment, Laureate Australia

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

Every day women should be celebrated. It can be a simple gesture. To have a day dedicated to women is important as women are generally the first role model any person has in their life, and it’s a good day to reflect on any woman that has made a difference in your life.

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

It’s hard to go past mum. The only person who will praise you behind your back and be honest to your face. She was always supportive and that is the most that you can ask for just about anyone. Once you have someone that believes in you, it makes you ten feet tall. That’s why my mother was so important to me.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Keep challenging yourself to be better and be content with what you are doing. If there is something in your life that is not making YOU happy, look to change that and don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Melanie Hallett

Head of Marketing, Mark Moran Group

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

I’m very much a feminist and very proud of this and passionately support and celebrate a day of recognition which draws attention to the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s so sad that in 2018 we still have to fight for equality so International Women’s Day is so important to help us get our message and education out here, especially this year where it calls for gender parity. I truly hope more than anything one day my child will live in a world where we are all equal.

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

Definitely my Mum. She brought my sister and me up mostly on her own, it was tough for her both financially and emotionally but she did an incredible job. Juggling a marriage breakdown, being a single mum and two girls and work, wasn’t an easy feat, but what truly impressed me was when she decided to add to her load and go to university when my sister and I were young and get a degree to better hers and our future. Looking back on that I am just so in awe of her ambition, determination, and hard work and don’t know how she did it all. She’s definitely instilled many core values in me and has been very influential, not that she probably realizes, in how I have paved both my career and personal life path. 

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Don’t be afraid to succeed and know your worth. I think women face many challenges in the workplace and it can be especially hard for a strong, smart and driven woman to be really valued and respected still in today’s world. Some companies and industries still don’t know how to relate to female leaders and experts in their fields and it’s sad that I still regularly see stereotypes of genders, where a strong intelligent woman is labeled a bitch but a strong intelligent man is considered as powerful. This is all too common, unfortunately, but as long as women continue to push forward, use their voice and value their contribution and performance and be confident in themselves they’ll succeed, no matter what.

Another good tip, find a mentor. I had a couple of amazing female mentors throughout my career who I really feel helped me get to where I am now. They’re professionalism, support, dedication and strong leadership truly inspired me.

Ben King

Marketing, StarTrack

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

It's an opportunity to stop and celebrate the amazing contributions women have made to shape the local community

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

I have two - my mum and my wife, (the two strongest women I know) - both have contributed to making me who I am today.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Never be afraid to make mistakes.

Eithne McSwiney

Managing Director, GHO Sydney

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

I try to promote and encourage women every day.

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

 My mum 

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

 Be strong but compassionate. You don’t have to act like a man to succeed. 

Shannon Kerr

Group Marketing & Operations Manager, Instigo

1.Why is International Women's day such an important day for you? 

As a mother of two daughters (and for myself), I believe it is important to celebrate our collective achievements, of which there are many!

2. Who has been the most important woman in your life?

A slight cliché, but my own mother Beverley; she has always managed to navigate her own path in whatever situation she finds herself in, whether working, her family, traveling or extensive charity work. My mum has defied convention and lived life to the full, and she has taught me to never say no to an opportunity or experience.

3.What pearl of wisdom would you give to other women starting out in their careers?

Look out for one another and be empathetic, women far more than men have to negotiate different situations (eg experiencing sexism or the unique challenges of pregnancy & motherhood in the workplace) and being supported by other women is an important step in doing so successfully.

 

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