#BalanceforBetter – What International Women’s Day Means to Me


#BalanceforBetter – What International Women’s Day Means to Me

Women from around the world share their inspirational messages on what it means to be a woman in 2019, and the importance of celebrating International Women’s Day.

The International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter also calls for driving gender balance across the world: gender-balanced boardrooms, a gender-balanced governments, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth.

MiNDFOOD caught up with inspirational women from around the world who are making a difference to the lives of everyday women in their communities. We asked them each one simple question: ‘What does International Women’s Day mean to you?’

Aya Chenni:

Award-winning Pan-African feminist, Aya Chebbi is the first African Union Youth Envoy and the youngest diplomat at the African Union Commission Chairperson’s Cabinet. She is the founder of multiple platforms such as Youth Programme of Holistic Empowerment Mentoring (Y-PHEM) coaching the next generation to be positive change agents, Afrika Youth Movement (AYM), one of Africa’s largest Pan-African youth-led movements and Afresist, a youth leadership program and multimedia platform documenting youth work in Africa. She served on the Board of Directors of CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the World Refugee Council and Oxfam Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, and was the 2018 One Young World Ambassador.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“IWD means to me honouring of the feminist struggles and achievements through generations and a reminder for the continuation of the fight for gender equality with global women solidarity.”

Sami Lukis:

Sami Lukis is an Australian television and radio personality. S has appeared on the Nine Network as weather presenter on Today, and for Network Ten on the children’s educational program Totally Wild. Sami published her first book Romantically Challenged and she also launched the spin-off podcast “Romantically Challenged”. She is actively involved in a number of charities.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“For me, it’s about recognising, supporting, celebrating and empowering women. It’s also important to keep shining that spotlight on gender equality – it’s clearly something we need to keep fighting for. The first time International Women’s Day was recognised in Australia in 1928, women were calling for equal pay.  And here we are, 90 years later … still fighting for that same, completely reasonable and fundamental right.”

Dr Pooja Ramakant:

Dr Ramakant is an Associate Professor based at the Department of Surgery, Christian Medical College Vellore, Uttar Pradesh, India. She is a breast cancer and endocrine surgeon who is voicing her opinions on how women In india, such as herself, can achieve better balance between family and career. A huge problem for women of her age in India.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Pooja exhorts women to speak up and not remain silent. “I do not remain silent if I see any injustice being done to a woman. Rather I make it a point to speak and make my voice heard and I face such situations very often in my professional life. I encourage my young girl students (interns) to not get de-motivated by society, but make their own informed choices regarding their professional and family life. Also, women should insist on an equitable distribution of work between all members of the family. Men will have to contribute equally to household work and responsibilities. Let us not forget that all women are working women, whether employed or not.”

Photo Credit: Facebook/@pooja.ramakant.33

Alexandra Tweten:

Author, speaker and content creator, Alexandra Tweten is a Los Angeles-based feminist. She has created the viral Instagram account @ByeFelipe, which calls out men who turn hostile when rejected or ignored. It has over 400,000 followers. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and on Good Morning America.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

“For me, International Women’s Day is a day to step back from my own bubble and think about the ways that women around the world are both fighting against patriarchal structures and celebrating achievements they have made for equality. The quote by Audre Lorde comes to mind: ‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.’ It is important to acknowledge all women’s experiences and listen to and amplify voices that may be more disadvantaged than my own.

Tweten, Lukis and Chenni are all speakers at this year’s ALL About Women event at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 10 March. These three incredible women, as well as many others, will be discussing the latest thinking on gender, #MeToo, rape culture, female anger, and the global reach and breadth of feminist thinking.

“Events like ALL About Women is a unique platform to have authentic feminist conversations that matter for us as women with other badass women from around the world,” Chenni adds.


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