International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe on 8 March each year. In light of Little Black Dress Group’s creed to provide a lively, engaged network for likeminded women, who grab opportunities and work through or around any perceived obstacles, we posed the question to members on what they felt it meant to be a woman today. As Cara Ghassemian affirms, being a woman is intrinsically part of our identities.
While we may not suffer under an oppressive regime, or endue some of the gender related restrictions as that of our sisters internationally, from a global perspective, gender is still firmly on the agenda in 2012 and beyond. Witness the recent failed revolt from Kevin Rudd and the embattled Labor Party headed by Australia’s first ever female Prime Minister. Her policies and physicality continue to divide the nation and it has been widely acknowledged that Julia Gillard has not received the respect her predecessors commanded.
Many Little Black Dress Group members are entrepreneurs. This is not surprising as the largest growth area for females is in self-employment and SMEs. These ventures provide flexibility and opportunity to take control outside the sphere of traditional corporations. Some members continue to thrive within the corporate arena while maintaining their identities. Many women take on the world with relish and gusto that is unique and exhilarating. We are all on our own journey and that is quintessentially what it means to be a woman today.
Coming Up for Air
“Juggling 7 businesses, several investment properties, 2 TV shows, daily green smoothies and exercise regimes and 3 more books due for release this year it’s a busy one. However I believe with clear vision, precision focus, a healthy dose of self esteem , a great team and tenacity anything is possible. I don’t believe or care remotely about the hype surrounding gender inequality or stereotypes. Just get out there and have a go!” Lisa Messenger, The Messenger Group
Pay It Forward
“What I am seeing and enjoying is a revolution in the way that women are thinking about themselves. For many women in the past, myself included, we tried to emulate men in the workplace. We dressed like them, we put our hair in buns, we masked our femininity however there are now pops of colour throughout corporate Australia and SME’s as women begin to be confident in their own ‘womanness’.
A glass ceiling remains in many corporations; it is difficult to juggle motherhood and a business or career. Being a child-free woman that owns a successful accounting firm, I appreciate the fact that I could choose to have children, choose how many hours I work, choose what field I work in and how successful I will be.
Today, I think the challenge now is balancing the responsibility of ensuring that this choice continues to be there for the women coming through behind us but also that we can somehow extend this choice to other women that perhaps don’t have it.” Melissa Browne, Accounting and Taxation Advantage
Brick in a Wall
“As a woman I understand that our actions can have a profound effect on the women that surround us. I know that I am influencing my own life through my actions, my thoughts and my words. I see that we are positively affecting the lives of our children, our parents and our companies to change perception. – The door is open; we just need to step through it.” Vicki Stirling, Pacific Brands
If you build it, (s)he will come
Deb Carr notes that like attracts like, “There is a community that increases at a rapid rate of like-minded, successful, spiritual and courageous women building innovative businesses” Deb Carr, Voxy Lady Women’s Speaker Bureau
One Small Step for Mankind
“As a professional woman I think one of the main ongoing challenges to gender equality is the barrage of non-verbal messages from both women and men relegating women to second place or worse non – existence.
Examples include receiving letters addressed to “Dear Sir/s”, always having my hand shaken (if at all) after the man’s, and working for businesses whose websites have stock photos of men in jackets centre stage and women leaning over or craning their necks to see what the man in the photo is demonstrating.
Another example is being in a business group with the men exchanging glances as the discussion continues but with no overt eye contact with the women who are also present.
Therefore to affirm my identity of which my gender is an intrinsic part, it is necessary to confront this barrage.” Cara Ghassemian, CG Lawyers
What are you doing this year to both assert your place in your world and to ensure that other women in the community enjoy the same benefits in the future? Perhaps the first step could be exploring Little Black Dress Group’s First Seeds Fund. Find out more here http://www.littleblackdressgroup.com.au/about-us/first-seeds-fund/
Heart on My Sleeve
Registering my own company, Heart It Communications was a heart pounding moment last year. Consolidating my experience in both marketing communications and writing, as the name implies. I am very passionate about fashion and I live for stories and context. I have enjoyed a career in which I have indulged my love for luxury accessories for over 17 years; working in marketing and PR for iconic labels including Dolce&Gabbana, Maurice Lacroix, Mont Blanc, Tom Ford and Porsche Design. I am also a published fashion writer. Living and breathing trends, branding and logos, promotions and events, I provide strategic marketing consultancy, trend blogging and copy writing. I bring to each project high energy, enthusiasm and an in-depth knowledge of wholesale/retail marketing for consumer durable brands. Find me on LinkedIN or firstname.lastname@example.org 0413 030 345.
* Originally published in Gloss, Little Black Dress Group’s monthly e-newsletter to members.