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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Cullen

Reflections on Woman of the Year 2020 Finalist Award

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the International Women’s Day celebratory breakfast, where I was a Finalist for Blacktown City Woman of the Year 2020.

I’d like to thank Council and all the organisers and supporters of this event. I’d like to recognise the award winner and all the other finalists and nominees and unsung heroes who are out there, every day, working to achieve greater equality for all genders. There is also an International Men's Day on November 19th.

The continuing sense that we need these events to raise awareness of bias, and to award achievement differentiated by gender, is disconcerting to me. If these events were purely a celebration and recognition of the value, strength and beauty of diversity, within an equal playing field, then I would be jubilant. We aren't ready to celebrate an International Day of ‘All the Beautiful People’ because we are still in the midst of breaking down the walls of fear, and both overt and less noticeable systematic discrimination, based on gender, colour, culture, religion, wealth, privilege and even postcode.

I ask that we all continue in creating a new world where I, and every other person around the world, doesn't need to worry, day in and day out, about whether we will be groped or attacked by a new client, business associate, family member or stranger on the street. A world where we don’t need to worry that business, career and life opportunities will be withdrawn when someone sees who we are and where we come from. A world in which we recognise, in every fellow human being, both near and far, the same inherent value we already implicitly feel towards our loved ones.

We are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions and so why not hold ourselves accountable to raising up every individual and every community?... No one loses in that equation. In equality, value, respect and celebration we are always stronger and better together.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th, with this year’s campaign theme being #EachforEqual. We can all actively make choices to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively we can make change happen.

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