Today we celebrate International Women's Day (IWD) and it makes me so proud as a woman and mother raising, two beautiful young women, that we take this day to showcase some amazing women and their impact on the world.
Our favourite book to read as a family is “Good night stories for Rebel Girls”. A coffee table book that artistically shares 100 tales of extraordinary women and girls and their achievements. If you haven’t read it, you must check it out, there is even a sequel.
IWD is also a day where we stop and reflect on the progress we still have to make in terms of equality and equal opportunity, and more importantly come together as a community to share strategies to #PushForProgress together.
As we celebrate this important day, I can’t help but reflect and give gratitude to all the amazing women who have shaped me into the woman I am today. Whilst there are too many to mention, today I want to recognise a handful.
From a professional perspective, I was very fortunate at a very young age to have a role model senior female leader, Deanne Bevan, who was a frontrunner in Affirmative Action in Australia. A woman who showed me the power of ‘passion’ at work and taught me to keep pushing for change, especially when you got push back, keep pushing, if the intention is for the greater good.
Since then, I have been surrounded by amazing women both in my corporate career and now in my professional networks. Women such as Sandra Butcher, Debb Meyer, Janine Garner, Silvia Damiano, Deborah Driussi, Tine Erol and Belinda Dalliston who are open and available to listen, teach, share, guide, showcase and support me to help make a difference through my work.
From a personal perspective, first and foremost is my very non-assuming mum, affectionately known as Gus. Gus is without a doubt one of the most introverted, quietest, yet strongest women I know. Gus was not only our family matriarch, she also busted her gut day in day out in a full-time role, to help provide for our family (along with my beautiful dad). She has suffered chronic health issues her whole life and still worked long days, without complaint, to enable my brother and I to have the beautiful childhood and education that we did, to enable us to live our best lives.
Then there is my mother-in-law, Di, who has also been a huge influence and supporter in my camp. She is a very strong, independent woman. This is a woman who been married for 51 years, still has her own bank accounts, has been a teacher her whole life and has retired, unsuccessfully, about 5 times, as she loves her independence so much (and does like to shop). Once again, Di has been nothing but supportive and proud of me (and I even married her eldest son!).
Today, I want to reiterate how thankful I am to have you all in my life.
On a different note, when I read the appalling statistics today that 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, it absolutely sickens me. It also makes me incredibly grateful for the men in my world who have equally shaped the woman I am today. I often wonder if I wasn’t as fortunate to be surrounded by these men, how my life might be different.
I was raised by one of the sweetest, kindest and gentlest men in the world, my adorable father, Jack. Dad taught me the standard of how to be treated by a male, esp a husband and father, and I gotta say, he set the bar very high.
I married into a family with possibly the next sweetest man the world, my father-in-law, Graham. Graham is the epitome of a gentleman and moves mountains for someone he loved.
I grew up with an older brother, Adam. This is a guy who is arguably one Australia’s smartest people (maths nerd) and has founded one of Australia’s most successful starts ups, Quantium, yet his determination, humility, authenticity and generosity are far more admirable than any of his professional successes. He has always had my back, and always will. He loves me and is proud of me (even when I dated guys he didn’t approve of). Love ya bro.
And of course I married my biggest fan, Muzz. Another gentle soul, who is personally and professionally very successful himself and yet he loves nothing more than showcasing me, my work and of course the achievements of his beautiful girls. I am so blessed to have shared half my life with you Muzzy.
The common denominator between all these amazing women and men in my life, they made me feel like “I am enough”! In fact, they made me believe that I am more than enough!
They believed in me more than I believed in myself.
They are my biggest supporters. They want to see me succeed and they are there every step of the way, cheering me on.
Today, I want to express my gratitude, I do not take this unconditional love, belief and support for granted.
Next I want to ensure I pay it forward.
If we want to continue to push for progress, we need to be vigilant in our quest to developing resilient, confident young women. Young women who believe in themselves and their value. In a materialistic world which showcases 'value' based on looks, fame, fortune and the number of followers/likes you rake up, our girls need to know “that they are loved”, “that they are capable” and “that they are enough", in fact, "that they are more than enough!”.
They need someone to believe in them, perhaps more than they believe in themselves!
Let’s continue to build the foundation for progress by developing strong, brave girls who will go on to do amazing things in this world because they believe they can. And let’s proudly be the shoulders they can stand on to make their journey that little bit easier.
Happy International Women's Day!
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BLYTHE ROWE & Her Life on Heels.
The founder and director of Human Incite, is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving-up productivity and performance in organisations. She is on a mission to rid our workplaces of toxic behaviours, build meaningful relationships, personally and professionally and create workplaces worth belonging. Her enthusiasm simply is infectious!