I had the privilege of attending the Business Chicks International Womens Day breakfast last week in Perth. Yes, a little early as they travel to each capital city, but what an amazing morning!
Each for Equal
The theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is #eachforequal.
“An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”
Three Incredible Speakers
Three intelligent, strong, inspirational women. Amna Karra-Hassan, Rabia Saddique and Susan Alberti. AC. I will be honest and say I didn’t really know a great deal about these ladies before last Wednesday, but WOW, I certainly do now! Their personal stories of triumph over tragedy were so moving – you could feel the emotion in the room.
Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. Start somewhere. Just start.Amna Karra-Hassan
Amna, an Australian, Muslim, Lebanese woman has worked for the Australian Federal Police for over 8yrs in community engagement, is a strong advocate for the rights of muslim women and started the first womens AFL team in Western Sydney in 2011. Consequently, Amna has a strong belief in the “Power of Volunteering” and tells her audience “Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. Start somewhere. Just start.” Above all, what I loved about Amna, was seeing a young Australian born woman, who has faced discrimination and challenges, take to the stage with such confidence and enthusiasm.
One stone, creates a ripple, which in turn creates a wave.Rabia Saddique
Rabia, an Australian criminal and human rights lawyer, retired British Army officer and hostage survivor, tells her audience “I believe in the power of one. The power that we all have to create ripples of change. Waves come from ripples. And it takes one stone, one person to create that. Why should it not be you?”
Rabia’s personal story of being held hostage whilst working for the British Military, was overwhelming to say the least. Hard to imagine how she was asked to “never speak of involvement in the incident” while a male colleague was awarded a Military Cross for bravery! Her story of how she mounted a landmark discrimination case against the UK Ministry of Defence and won was mind blowing for me. A true example of how one stone can create a ripple of change.
If you would like to learn more about Rabia’s story you can purchase her book “Equal Justice” – personally, I can’t wait to read it.
Now, to our final speaker, Susan Alberti AC. At this point I thought how could this be any more powerful than the 2 incredible ladies who took the stage before her?
Well, what a force of nature this amazing lady is! She is apparently known in Melbourne as “The Footy Lady”. A former Vice President of the Western Bulldogs football club and now ambassador for AFLW since 2017, Susan has lived and breathed this great Australian sport and believes it is every woman’s right to play if they so desire.
Susan compacted her incredible story of triumph over tragedy in a short 30mins. We learned about her humble beginnings in Bairnsdale VIC; her marriage to an Italian immigrant Angelo in 1967; their desire to succeed together in business and the creation of DANSU Group; his death from a hit and run in 1995; her drive to get her builder’s licence after his death to keep the business and their staff secure; her daughter Danielle’s diagnosis of juvenile diabetes; the death of her beautiful daughter in her arms on a flight back to Australia for a kidney transplant; to her unwavering commitment to Danielle to raise money for the disease that took her life. To date the Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation has raised over $300 million towards research for Juvenile Diabetes. Susan told us how our health should always be our number one priority.
As a wife and mother, I cannot comprehend the pain and anguish Susan has risen above in her life. I have the ultimate respect for her ability to keep going and give back with such generosity.
So, What now?
Apart from walking away from this event emotionally drained, (way too many tears!) I walked away inspired to do more, speak up more, give more.
Another of Amna’s quotes on the day was “To be more powerful together, we need to sit with our own power first.” So, what is your power? What can you do, speak up about, give up in order to give more?
As a supporter of UN Women Australia I encourage you to look for how you can make a difference. If you are able to support and donate here is the link https://unwomen.org.au/
In conclusion, I’m not sure what more I can do right now. But, I am determined to keep looking for opportunities, and I am very sure there is something around the corner, just waiting for me to step into my power.
Happy International Women’s Day for Sunday 8th of March.