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International Women’s Day is the one day a year where globally, we stop and celebrate women's achievements, acknowledge the presence of women in every environment, and stand against inequality and lack of inclusion. But why do we limit it to just one day a year? As a person, it’s important to feel included – to feel represented in every environment you step into. That’s why inspiring inclusion is something we need to live by and practice every day.

To amplify this message, I want to recall a story from when my mother was nearing the end of her high school experience. Her male career advisor asked what she wanted to be and she agreed to completing a Tafe certification in travel and administration. With this certificate, she ended up working in the travel industry for 15+ years. However, the other day she was telling us how she had wished she had gone on to university and studied further. She had the marks, she was smart, but because she came from a low socioeconomic area and a Portuguese immigrant family, her career advisor told her that she should focus on something more ‘attainable’, like a career in travel administration as she would ‘eventually end up being a mother’.


When I persisted and asked my mum why she didn’t just ignore what he had said and do what she thought was best for herself – she shrugged and said “I didn’t see people like myself at university… Instead, they were cleaners, stay at home mother’s… Women like me don’t go to university.” Perhaps if she had seen women like herself in different industries, she wouldn’t have settled for something her heart wasn’t set on. To me, this was a shock. I was fortunate to have grown up in a family and a schooling environment where I was encouraged to pursue an education – a career – and still hold hopes of being a part of a family unit.


This year’s theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’ is extremely important and brilliant – but are we a little too late? Women should be celebrated in every aspect of their life, no matter their life path – a wife, a mother, a business owner, a doctor – we need to have every kind of woman in every walk of life to inspire younger women to do what they want to. Be who they want to be. Not to be held back, and thrown in one direction when their hearts lay in another.


Inclusion shows women that they can do anything that they want if they put their mind to it. Having women from different cultures, races, sexualities, etc. is extremely important. So that one day, we won’t have young girls being held back from what they want.


Let them be distillers, doctors, business owners, university professors, astronauts, mothers, wives. As long as they have options to choose from because they were included in the decisions that will create their life.


Inspire Inclusion. So, women don’t have to settle.



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