Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves
Celebrating Women, this latest edition of Brilliant-Online takes its cue from the recent annual International Women’s Day, with a sparkling showcase of inspired women who’re all taking it to the max in their chosen fields.
From ingenious accountants to a ground-breaking musician; from an innovative fashion designer to a meticulous vinyl wrapping specialist who transforms cars into colourful works of art, they’re all empowered women making tangible differences.
It’s interesting to note that today’s social environment that encourages and celebrates women making these kind of achievements is not a product of our recent, more enlightened times.
In fact, the first International Women’s Day was held more than a century ago, in 1911, to celebrate – as it still does – the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and mark a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine what societies were like in such a distant time, three years before the outbreak of World War One when everything was, without question, a Man’s World.
With the traditional mantra of a Woman’s Place is in the Home echoing around them, it’s no wonder that women of the time felt resigned to enduring pedestrian, unchallenging lives of home-making and child-rearing. So, the advent of International Women’s Day in 1911 must have come to them as a refreshing revolutionary wind of change and a harbinger of change for women’s rights and equality.
For those of us who mistakenly believe that the fight for women’s equality only began in the enlightened times of the late 1960s when Women’s Lib was the watchword, this is an eye-opener.
Don’t forget that back in 1911 women everywhere were marginalised from decision-making in society, however a measure of change had already been introduced in some countries.
Eighteen years previously in 1893 New Zealand had become the first country in the world to give women the vote in parliamentary elections – although they were still barred from standing for elections themselves until 1919. And a year later in 1894 South Australia extended universal suffrage to all women, the first colony in Australia to do so.
From these small steps began the path for women to become politicians and eventually take leadership roles as prime ministers and presidents.
Stepping Up to the Plate
In the workplace, professional careers were more or less out-of-bounds to women in those far-off times, except for menial jobs. And even women who held down good professional jobs were expected to abandon them and retreat into a life of domesticity upon marrying.
But two world wars put an end to that, with women stepping up to the plate to more than effectively fill the gaps in workforces caused by men leaving for military service. Both these wartime periods were instrumental in proving women’s worth in the traditionally male-dominated workplace.
Against this historic backdrop, the progress of women in society and professionally – as articulated by International Women’s Day – is really something to celebrate. This year’s International Women’s Day banner is #ChooseToChallenge, a fitting narrative for the outstanding women of achievement presented in this latest Brilliant online.
Last week, I spoke with Susan Jain, a former chief marketing officer in a global technology company whom I’ve worked with before. “The thing that I really appreciate about ‘Choose to Change’ is the intentionality of it, because not only do you choose, you choose to challenge.”
“Yes, challenge happens naturally in life, no matter what you're doing. But choosing to challenge is different than just happening upon challenges which we all do in life. It is purposeful and international, and that’s very important and certainly relevant in today's day and age.”
As the CEO of Brilliant, I put my marketing and technology skills into the Magazine and challenge the boundaries of interactive advertising. Therefore it is also fitting that we’re able to do all their achievements justice by telling their stories in full and absorbing detail - with our array of links to associated websites, blogs, videos and podcasts.
Enjoy this inspiring multimedia read!
Veronica Lind, CEO
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