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  • Writer's pictureAshley Hommersom

Celebrating Women

International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March) is nearly upon us again, and as a proud female, who at times is known for playing the ‘feminist’ card, it is a day that I have come to cherish. However, this has not always been the case. Growing up surrounded by incredible women, who appeared to be achieving incredible things, I never used to see the gender divide in our society. Interestingly though, it equally seemed normal to me that men were the breadwinners, the strong and dominant members of our society, and women stayed at home, cared for the children, and were generally involved with the ‘warm and fuzzy’ aspects of daily life. From my perspective at that time, there was no more or less value placed on either of those roles, they were just clearly defined social divides that I came to understand as ‘normal’. With this in mind, an international day that solely focused on, and celebrated women, seemed obsolete to me.

However as an adult, working in the trauma field with vulnerable clients, I have come to learn about female vulnerability, about the inequity in our society, and about the fact that these clearly defined roles also come with clearly defined importance and power, unequally favouring one gender over another. In my daily work, I have the privilege of interacting with remarkable people, who have experienced horrific trauma. Often, these people are female. When a society is unequally skewed to favour one gender over another, there is an assumption that the more dominant gender has the right to maintain a level of dominance, even if this involves using force, violence, manipulation, power, or control to do so. National and international statistics range in their estimations (as many cases go unreported) stating that approximately between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in her life, and between 1 in 5 and 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted. In stating this, it is also important to recognise that whilst sexual assault and domestic violence is mostly a gendered crime, perpetrated by men towards women, men are also often victims of this male violence, power and control.

The matter of gender equality, along with all kinds of equality for that matter, is one that is close to my heart. And whilst I could go on identifying the vast areas of inequality, areas our society is simply not up to scratch yet, areas in which certain groups are at much higher risk than others, and overall unequal representation of females in certain areas of our community, that is not what I wish to focus on right now. Yes, in order to overcome these inequalities, we need to continue to shine light on them, ensure they remain at the forefront of our awareness, and continue to challenge them in whichever way we are personally able to do so. However, International Women’s Day is not solely about societal shortcomings.

Along with learning about, working with, and personally experiencing discrimination, harassment, increased vulnerability and unbalanced distribution of power just because of gender, I have also come across remarkable resilience, strength, courage and determination embodied by women; women close to me, women I work with, women I have the privilege of meeting throughout my life, and women around the world who are simply not in the spotlight for doing phenomenal things. It’s this I want to focus on. International Women’s Day is not just about fighting the inequality, which I cannot underestimate the importance of, it is also about celebrating achievements; achievements of all kinds, by women in all areas.

This weekend, I attended a breakfast event in the lead up to International Women’s Day. At this event, there were some remarkable women, who had achieved incredible things, against challenging odds. And whilst at times I was blown away by what they had done, I equally found myself selfishly thinking ‘what they have achieved is so out of this world, what an unrealistic benchmark to set when attempting to inspire others’. However, what I soon came to realise, was that it was not so much about what these women had achieved that was inspiring, but rather about how they had achieved it. These women had something that interested them, something that made their souls shine, and as a result, they were not going to be held back from achieving and exceeding their goals - not by their gender, not by society telling them they couldn’t, not by the little voice inside them that sometimes might’ve tempted them to quit. It is this determination that deserves to be, and needs to be, encouraged and celebrated. So whether it is about starting to train for that marathon, applying for that dream job, starting or recommencing study, being the best mum you can be, running or engaging in community or charity events, setting up your own business, or making that piece of art you have been putting off, DO IT!! When we find ourselves doing something that challenges us, but equally brings us joy and fulfilment, we are capable of remarkable achievements. We are not all destined to be the best singer, the best athlete, the best scientist, the best fashion designer or the best professional. However, we can all be the best version of ourselves, because and regardless of our gender, and that is a woman worth valuing, cheering on, and celebrating.

On that note, I am curious to hear about what it is that you have achieved, or are in the process of achieving. And equally, if there are things holding you back from your achievements, drop me a line, it would be a privilege to assist you in realising your goals.


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Mar 06, 2018

Ashley's words resonate personally in many ways, particularly that it's not what we achieve but how we go about it. For me it's about how we as women conduct ourselves in our daily lives, about making a difference, about being fully present, about doing our best. And of course honesty and integrity and never forgetting to embrace the day, be grateful for what we have and whenever possible bring some joy into another person's life, be it on a serious or flippant level. What 30 years ago was a goal to stride high in a professional career became a goal to balance a satisfying career with being a valued mum. We as women all do things differently and each pa…


Deb Moyle
Deb Moyle
Mar 04, 2018

I love the word Kintsugi and it is something I would like all Women and Men and Children to embrace. Have just been to the All About Women Event at the Opera House today and listened to a panel discussion about the Orgasm Gap. As women, we need to talk. Your article correctly highlights celebrating the great achievements that women have made. Maybe on International Womens Day we can reach out to all our women friends and tell them how great they are. All the hidden achievements that go unnoticed and under the radar. If we have any failing, it is that we do not know our own worth.


Mar 04, 2018

What a beautiful and inspirational article. Over time, motherhood, immigrations, losses, crises and joyful experiences I have come to see and experience the strength of supportive women. I feel so fortunate to continually witness this and to see the power that being a part of a network of women, who celebrate being women, can bring. I feel particularly inspired by you, Ashley, who personifies what it means to be a strong woman and look forward to reading more of your blogs.

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