How does an idea inspired by your child and formulated at the kitchen table become an ethically sourced and environmentally friendly globally distributed product?
It starts with a passion, involves education, trial and error, determination and support. But at its core it starts with opportunity.
But where did this opportunity come from?
The path to women's equality has been long and challenging, it’s easy to forget all the hard work that has gone before us since the first women's movements of the early 1900s. My entrepreneurial opportunities are a result of the success of women advocating for women.
International Women's Day is about many things, but firstly let us be grateful for the suffragettes who fought hard for basic women’s rights in the early 1900’s and the feminists of the 60’s & 70’s who rallied and protested for inclusion and equality. Then in the 80’s when women had to dress (think corporate power suits and enormous shoulder pads!) and work like a man to gain respect and break those glass ceilings. Then came the 90’s when those who had made it through that ceiling and then into the boardroom set about recruiting a more diverse workforce. One hundred or so years after the suffragettes men became allies and advocates for change.
One hundred years.
The 2022 theme for IWD is #BreakTheBias. We need to encourage others to keep breaking down the barriers.
This is why it is an honour to be speaking at my local NSW Women in Business luncheon celebrating International Women’s Day this month. Because it’s not all about me! There are many women both in my immediate everyday life and in business, sport etc that inspire us all and I am super proud to say that my own daughter, Peri is one of them.
Peri has taken her passion for water-sports and hunger for a challenge to the world stage climbing the ranks of the kitesurfing world at local, state, national and international competitions. When she started in her mid teens she was the only junior female kitesurfer in the ‘wave riding’ competition scene. Grabbing the attention of the industry and brands alike and receiving a wildcard into the last World Cup event of 2018. By the end of the 2019 season she was 5th on the final rankings.
The World Tour resumed in 2021 and Peri was living and training in Hawaii working 3 jobs to support her world tour campaign. The women’s competition doesn’t attract as much prize money as the men’s due to smaller competitor entries. Support and sponsorship from major kite surfing brands is very hard to come by. Peri became the 2021 World Champion, after only one previous season of being on tour. The fastest climb to the top in Kitesurfing History. Peri’s determination to succeed has been highlighted all over the world.
"The coolest part of the EA adventure was meeting Mozambique’s first female surfer, Giulia! We hung out at @surfersnotstreetchildren in Tofo. So awesome to see her leading a whole new gang of young female surfers in the area. I think she is pretty stoked on her new board too😊 🧡" @stephaniegilmore
Australian surfer and 7 time World Title winner, Stephanie Gilmore entered the professional surfing scene in 2007. Stephanie led the WSL to achieve equal pay for women - one of the first international sporting organisations to do so. She's an advocate for ocean, health and loves to spend time with the next generation of surfers at initiatives such as the 'Rising Tides' at WSL tour events.
Samantha Wills - I have a huge crush on Samantha Wills. If you’ve never heard of her then do yourself a favour and check out samanthawills.com She describes herself as an Australian creative director, writer, speaker and educator. She once said “it took me twelve years to become an overnight success” Samantha is passionate about sharing her knowledge and nurturing and empowering women in business. She is very relatable and has successfully written a book Of Gold & Dust (a must read) (https://samanthawills.com/book) One of my favourite things is how she generously shared her business plan with her followers. And her blog is so entertaining, she calls them Love Letters.
What is it that you can do this year for International Women’s Day? You don’t have to become a world champion or a successful entrepreneur to continue to help #BreakTheBias. We can all continue to lift other women, fix their crowns, share our hopes and dreams and share our journey including the lessons we’ve learned along the way to success. Simples