What a fantastic opportunity International Women’s Day (IWD) is to honour the women who have come before us, those who surround us now and those who we are raising into the future.
Working in the area of gender equality and community development is an important aspect of creating change. To create positive change, we have to be willing to get uncomfortable. It’s through this discomfort and action that our own ideas can be challenged on what is acceptable and is simply unacceptable. The theme – ‘Be Bold For Change’ – for this year’s IWD is spot on for the attitude and direction that we need in moving forward.
On the morning of IWD (Wednesday March 8), I was filled with the excitement of a primary schooler, welling up with pride, at the opportunity to have one of my paintings featured in this year’s IWD Breakfast held at the Parliament House of NSW. The unexpected privilege came after being selected to attend the event and display one of my pieces of art – depicting a fusion of my love for art, gender equality and advocacy. Hosted by Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi (pictured above) and Senator Lee Rhinnaon, the event featured speakers Nayuka Gorrie, who focused on self-determination, colonialism and feminism, along with spoken word artist, Hawraa Kash. Hawraa used this form of creative expression to challenge stigmas around mental health and social constructs. These incredibly inspiring women, use their creativity to boldly express what it means to be a woman.
I believe it is through our creativity, boldness, and the boldness of others to seek social justice, that we have seen a global shift and positive change in the improvement of social and home life, education and work space for women and girls. I hope this continues.
One of the things I love about art and using painting as a form of expression, is that it speaks to people in different ways and has to be one of my favourite ways of starting conversations with people. It has opened up many uncomfortable discussions with people that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with if it weren’t for using art as a form of advocacy.
Being Bold For Change requires us to be challenged, to be open to learning and to get on board to become – or create – a force of change.
If something needs to be changed, then it’s worth getting uncomfortable for, right?
But while being bold for change, don’t forget to focus on progress more than results! Even if we don’t see the change immediately – and let’s face it, we may never be aware of the full impact our actions have – being bold enough to take that step, will create a ripple effect of change, both within ourselves and other people who are connected to the change.
Here at Asian Aid, our programs empower women and children to understand and claim their rights, and have the power to be part of the decision-making process. And these women and children are going on to create their own ripple effects of change.
So when I saw the call out for artists to submit work for the IWD Breakfast in Sydney, I knew I had to be part of this local event, to join in the celebration of women, and contribute to the bigger picture of women’s empowerment.
Thank you, for being excited about change, and for the part you play in providing a safe, equal and rewarding environment locally and globally.
And always remember: