Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to me?
Deanne: I think it’s a day that makes me remember that our small business is run by women and is also supported by women. Women are by far our biggest customers in the shop. We also have a nice little network of shops in the area with strong women in the businesses. We should appreciate how much women contribute to our community.
Julie: International Women’s Day helps us to remember to pause, reflect and appreciate the women in all areas of our lives. Women we respect and why we respect them so highly. The day is an opportunity that highlights that we are so much stronger when we are supportive, encouraging and determined to reach our goals.
Q: How did I start and what are the highlights of my career?
Deanne: My first job was in the neighbourhood minding other people’s birds and animals when they went on holidays. It was basically being paid to play with other people’s animals. Certainly, the shop is a highlight, working in partnership with Julie and it doesn’t feel like work either. Lots of talking to lovely people and creating a beautiful space to be in. Also, my first Kindergarten teaching/Director role felt important as the kindy was such a special place for children.
Julie: I got to a point in my life when I started to want more from my career. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone both creatively and intellectually. That’s when I started my first business. My highlights have been seeing the visions for my business become a reality and then a success. Now my highlight is working with Deanne in a successful partnership in our gift store.
Q: How can we encourage future women leaders?
Deanne: I looked up Taryn Brumfitt because I hadn’t heard of her when she just won Australian of the Year and watched her film “Embrace”. It’s about the effect body image messages have on everyone but especially on young girls. She really is inspiring I think for future female leaders in getting people to think about what is important, how we think about ourselves and what we value. I do think we treat female leaders more harshly than male ones.
Julie: I believe I have been positively influenced by women who understand their worth, so I think you encourage the future by starting with yourself. Don’t undervalue or talk down about yourself. I think we are all works in progress so know when you need to keep learning and improving. If you show this you may encourage future female leaders to back themselves and keep working towards their goals.
Q: What does an equal future world look like?
Deanne: I think young people that I talk to already seem to be much better than our generation at gender equality. They seem more accepting of differences, more aware and certainly call out issues when they see them. So hopefully in the future we be easier for women in leadership roles.
Julie: I agree with Deanne’s comments totally. Each generation seems to be working towards gender equality a bit better than the last. An equal future for me is any person achieving what they set out to do through their own hard work, persistence and dedication then being recognised for it because of it.