#IWD 2023: Embrace Equity.

#IWD 2023: Embrace Equity.

International Women’s Day sure did roll around quick this year. I feel like I just packed down the Christmas tree. Then suddenly it was the 8th of March. Anyone else think this year is going ridiculously quick?!

Last year I heard a conversation on the radio discussing how commercialised this day has become. Just another tokenistic morning tea some might say. But I refuse to believe that’s what it’s about and I stand by the fact that this day is important. I want to honour the brave women that rebelled against the norm back in the early 1900s (and well before that) across the world, to demand better rights and equality. Us women are pretty incredible beings after all and I think that’s worth celebrating.

So in honour of those women, the women that surround us today and the core message of what this day represents, we caught up with a bunch of friends of Sage x Clare - To discuss what this year’s theme - #EmbraceEquity means... amongst some other beautiful wisdom. It’s a special one. Enjoy! 

Winitha Bonney - Inclusion Expert 

Sage x Clare

Who are you and what do you do?

I'm an Inclusion Expert/Consultant working with corporate organisations, retail, fashion, creative and purpose-led brands to create a more inclusive experience for their employees, consumers and the wider community.

This year’s #IWD theme is: Embrace Equity. What does this mean to you? 

This is about all facets of life, not just the work/the pay gap. It's about equity in the process to purchase a home, create wealth, the right to education and health care. It's about all facets of life. Equity is about social justice and human rights.   
How can we all work towards this goal? And what are some examples of ways that you live by this outlook in every day life?

I think it's important to note that women should not be the ones left with the labour and burden of creating equity for themselves. We need men/allies to do this work. A key thing is to understand the lived experiences of women intimately. If you don't understand our lived experience you don't understand what you can do to work with us towards achieving this goal. As a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and expert I live by this outlook every single day with the clients I work with...the list of things of what we can to do to achieve this goal is 1001 kilometers long. My best advice is to use kindness and love as your guide for everytrhing you do and say. It's not steeped in academic research or science - however inclusion is about the human experience and the human experience is about kindness and love. 
What many people don't realise is if I'm busy creating equity for others through working with clients and communities, who is creating equity for me? I've had to work really hard to have a good team of mentors and coaches around me to look at how I am creating equity for myself in all facets in my life and partner with allies to make that happen to. 
What women inspire you and why? 

My mother, aunties, friends - so many, past and present. 
The most inspiring woman in 2022 is actually my Massage Therapist. My clients will know that I'm really passionate about business. I love every angle and part of it. When I started seeing her 6 months ago I was so impressed at the quality she achieved in such a short time, for her first business. She's a Woman of Colour like me and has only been in Australia for less than 10 years. Starting a business and navigating complex Australian systems is one thing, creating a business of that quality of CARE and attention to such incredible detail is another and her growth is a testimony of it. She's a beautiful person who really cares about every aspect of her clients wellness experience and we've become good friends. Her business is outstanding. 
What’s the most valuable lesson an important woman in your life has shared with you? 

My mother taught me how to pee on a public toilet without touching it. I know it sounds weird but its the most valuable lesson and my mother is the most important woman in my life - she gave me life and taught me how to survive in this world - including how to pee in public toilets.

Phoebe Bell - Founder & Creative Director Of Sage x Clare 

sage and clare

Who are you and what do you do? 
I am the Founder and Creative director of Sage x Clare, as well as a mother to three beautiful children – Jude, Heidi and Poppy.
This year’s #IWD theme is: Embrace Equity. What does this mean to you? 
When I think of this year’s IWD theme, I think largely about opportunity, safety and security. It’s about women being able to walk the dogs at night without feeling they need to look over their shoulder, it’s about women feeling safe in their own homes surrounded by friends and family who support her, it’s about women having the same opportunities as men in relation to work and creating a livelihood, it’s about women feeling they don’t have to be polite, pretty and agreeable in order to be liked and respected.
How can we all work towards this goal? And what are some examples of ways that you live by this outlook in every day life?
It’s not just women that need to work towards this. Men also need to take accountability and really get curious about what it’s like to live as a woman in today’s world. And by get curious, I mean ask questions and listen with the intent of gaining a true understanding without making assumptions.
In my family life, we live and raise our children in an equitable environment where both Mum and Dad take on the responsibilities of domestic life, work and child-rearing equally. And at Sage x Clare, we are a largely female-led business and we are continuously learning and making adjustments to how we work, the things we say and what we do, to create a workplace that celebrates women and is free of discrimination.
What women inspire you and why? 
The women I work with inspire me. I observe and listen to their stories, the way they navigate life, their support of other women, and their contribution to this world - it’s nothing short of inspiring. They lead with heart, act with authenticity and lift each other up. Having seen my fair share of toxic workplaces, it is a tremendous example of what is possible when there is a commitment by all to learn, advocate for and protect one another.
What’s the most valuable lesson an important woman in your life has shared with you? 
My coach has taught me that it’s ok to ask for what you need. There are more pressures than ever to be the perfect partner, the perfect mother, the perfect career-woman and, frankly, it’s exhausting. Women have a tendency to martyr themselves, to try and do it all… but try asking for help when you need it… you just might be surprised.

Natasha Dumais - Ubabub + Design Kids

Sage x Clare

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi there! I’m Natasha Dumais, Creative Director and Co-owner of Nursery Furniture brands Ubabub and Design Kids. We’re also the Australian distributors of popular US nursery furniture brand Babyletto. We design, produce and distribute nursery furniture and nursery decor, for the modern parent. I’m also mum to four awesome kids Bianca 16, Sabine 13, Uma 11 and Arlo 3.

This year’s #IWD theme is: Embrace Equity. What does this mean to you?

This is such an exciting theme. Women (and all marginalised groups) have always been striving for equality, but there is a recognition now that equality only takes you so far – what is needed is equity. I think the difference is huge. Equality means everyone gets the same opportunities, and while there is still a long way to go on that front, it doesn’t address that everyone is starting from a different baseline. Equity means everyone gets what they need, specifically, for their own success. It means understanding the challenges and obstacles women face, then acknowledging and addressing their specific needs, so they too can thrive. There is a great quote “Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”

How can we all work towards this goal? And what are some examples of ways that you live by this outlook in every day life?

I think embracing equity begins at home and inspiring change in the minds of our children. Teaching our kids the value of empathy and kindness is a great place to start. Encouraging them to understand and empathise with people’s individual circumstances opens up avenues for them to help empower those around them and champion fairness. It enables them to learn that not everyone starts from the same playing field and some need extra help to get to where they need to be in life. We also motivate our kids to be inclusive at every opportunity.

We teach our children that people come in all shapes, sizes, cultural backgrounds and genders. Inspiring our kids to embrace diversity by sharing success stories of people of all ethnicities and genders – we recently watched the incredibly inspiring ‘True Spirit’ movie together, about Jessica Watson the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world – definitely recommended family viewing! We’ve also been big fans of the book series ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’ reading these to our kids since they were young. Our family were also big fans of the TV Series ‘Love on the Spectrum’, that followed the lives of young adults with Autism seeking to find love. A brilliant series that opened hearts, minds and attitudes, enabling us to share and discuss the concept of empathy.

It’s our responsibility as parents to make ourselves aware of biases and challenge the stereotypes that our children might encounter in everyday life – teaching them to call things out when they see inequity. We strive to reassure our kids that it’s OK to be different and encourage a culture of acceptance at home. Our three girls aged 11,13 and 16 all play Aussie Rules girls football and love it and I’ve helped create advertising campaigns for our local club’s girls footy campaigns over the past 4 years helping them push through gender stereotypes and enable new perceptions and possibilities.

What women inspire you and why?

I am lucky to be surrounded by so many inspiring women. Starting with my own family.

I look to women who are comfortable in their own skin, who own their idiosyncrasies, and use them to their strength, never apologising for being different. Women who are willing to listen and support without judgement and who genuinely champion other women.
Oh and I love those women around me who just know how to let it all go and have FUN!!!

What’s the most valuable lesson an important woman in your life has shared with you?

"Horseshoes are better than circles.  
Leave space.
Always leave space.
'Horseshoes of friends' are greater than 'Circles of friends'
Life can be lonely. Stand in horseshoes".
(Glennon Doyle - Untamed)

I love this quote about always leaving space for others to join you in your quest for an incredible, abundant life.

I have also been leaning into the concept of rest over the past few years and how powerful that can be in balancing energy within the body, mind and spirit.

Here’s a new favourite poem I want to share by Donna Ashworth on this, I hope you love it too.

Unstoppable they called her
but I saw her stop
I saw her stop many times.
I thought she had stopped for good
but no
she always found a way to resurrect.
Rise again.
Not the same
never the same.
Each time a little more determined
and a little less vulnerable.
Unstoppable they said
but I think
it was the in the stopping
that she found her power.

Chris Monahan - Co-Owner Of Sage x Clare

Sage x clare

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m a dad to three beautiful kiddies and an owner of Sage and Clare with Pheebs. With a lot of help from the team, I manage the corporate and commercial components of the business.
This year’s #IWD theme is: Embrace Equity. What does this mean to you? 

Within the context of IWD, equity relates to equal opportunity. This includes education, safety, equal employment opportunities and a whole lot more. I’m passionate about husbands and partners stepping up at home and taking on a larger portion of the home economics. This provides their partners with more capacity and less disruption and ultimately chips away at the unhelpful expectations and stereotypes affecting women. We all work these days, and it isn’t at all fair to expect women to carry the mental load of running a home and a family.
How can we all work towards this goal? And what are some examples of ways that you live by this outlook in every day life?

Phoebe and I employ over 30 women in Australia and they are all incredible people who manage the juggle of life and their work responsibilities seamlessly. We’ve created a flexible working environment that considers the needs of the individual and encourages everyone to bring their full self to work, whatever that might be. This in turn has helped to create a wonderful, caring and safe working environment.
What women inspire you and why? 

Working parents and particularly single mothers (furbabies included). The juggle of life is real and I’m constantly in awe of a mothers ability to keep the show on the road. IWD is a day of reflection and a day to be kind to yourself and others.
What’s the most valuable lesson an important woman in your life has shared with you? 

“Give something, something will come back. Give nothing, nothing will come back”. My mum is an extremely selfless person. At the drop of a hat, she would do absolutely anything for her children and her community. My parents were immigrants from South Africa and came to Australia with a view of saying yes to (almost) everything. As a result, they have given a lot and in turn are enjoying the rewards of a very full life.

Glenda McCulloch - Cungelella Art 

Cungelella Art Team

Who are you and what do you do? 

We are four sisters and Aboriginal artists, we paint and sell Aboriginal art and also have a clothing label called Myrrdah, we transfer our art onto beautiful soft linen and then our art is then wearable art.

This year’s #IWD theme is: Embrace Equity. What does this mean to you? 

For everyone regardless of their race, sexuality, religion or social standing in community to be able to follow their dreams, hopes and aspirations. 

How can we all work towards this goal? And what are some examples of ways that you live by this outlook in every day life?

Giving everyone equal opportunities.

What women inspire you and why?

We are inspired by a lot of women, but our mother is our biggest inspiration, she has raised nine children, she is an artist, she sews beautiful clothing and she’s the best cook. We also love oprah and honestly who doesn’t 
What’s the most valuable lesson an important woman in your life has shared with you?  

Mum taught us to be kind to be patient and to be tolerant of others. 

With a whole lotta love xx

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