Watch Out Here We Come!

 

Starting a new job is daunting any time, but I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into an all-female team for the very first time. I’ve never worked for a female run organisation and I was excited to join a team of progressive and inspiring women.

As a newbie here at Bonnies, one of the first things I noticed was how incredibly strong women are – both my incredible colleagues and our clients. I have watched women support each other, take care of each other, offer advice, friendship and a shoulder to lean on.

In a time of trauma and very high stress, you could assume a woman might shut down, be completely self-serving and only think of herself… and yet I haven’t seen this at all. I’ve seen women lift each other up, care for each other’s children and work together to make the best of a challenging situation.

 

It’s exciting to see real feminism in action!

 

In its textbook form, feminism means ‘equal rights for women’. In past generations,  this has meant fighting for the right to vote, the right to manage our own money and control our own futures. Feminists marched the streets,  challenged politicians and even burnt their bras in protest. Bonnie’s, Australia’s second ever women’s refuge, was  born as part of this activism. Its founders were young University students and crusading local women who wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.

Working here, over forty years later, I’ve been asking myself; ‘What does feminism mean for my generation? And what does it mean to me?’

As a 90’s kid who grew up with the Spice Girl’s brand of feminism, my understanding of what it means to be an empowered woman involved platform shoes and songs about friendship.  Wear what you want, be who you want, love who you want.

 

“Girl power is about being whoever you want to be,” Emma said in 1997. “Wearing your short skirts, your Wonderbra and your make-up, but having something to say as well.”

 

To 90’s kids,  raised on pretty princesses and clever tomboys, discovering they could be both at once was a revelation. And now, as an adult, I have come to realise that there’s even more to it than just Girl Power!

As a woman in 2021, I enjoy many of the rights and freedoms our mothers and grandmothers fought for and  this comes with responsibility. Feminism means equality for ALL women – no matter their background, social status or situation. It means every woman defining her own self, being who she wants to be. It means sharing our successes and supporting each other when we fall down. It’s always looking behind us for a woman who might need a hand up.

Until all women are free to be who they want to be, those of us with privilege (speaking as a middle class, straight, white, cis gendered woman) must work to ensure all our sisters share our freedoms. None of us are free until we are all free.

This is what I see every day at Bonnie’s. This is what Bonnie’s women do.

It’s awe-inspiring to watch, and it makes me very proud to be a woman.

And proud to be here.

 

Go Girl Power!

 

Written by Mel

 

Read more about how the Spice Girls changed feminism here:

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/how-the-spice-girls-changed-feminism-37483613.html

 

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