Zoe Farmer: International Women’s Day 2021: #ChooseToChallenge

February 25, 2021 | People at Mirus Australia

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.  IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. 

#IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge 

In support of International Women’s Day 2021, the team at Mirus Australia, as we have done in past years, will facilitate conversations among the team to raise awareness of gender equality.

Please meet Zoe Farmer, Intern at Mirus Australia as she shares her thoughts on challenges and opportunities that women face in a modern world…

(1) What does the phrase #ChooseToChallenge mean to you personally?  

The phrase #ChooseToChallenge to me means to be strong, to unite, and to persevere. By this, I mean that together, both men and women need to choose to challenge gender norms, stereotypes, and boundaries. We must all show strength and unity in order to achieve equality in the world.   

(2) Have you or someone you know faced gender bias, either personally or professionally? What was their response and key takeout from that experience?   

I have been lucky enough to not yet face a situation of gender bias in my professional life considering the main company I have worked at thus far is the lovely, inclusive, and diverse Mirus Australia 

Although, at University, which in a couple of years will turn into my professional life, I have begun to experience signs of gender bias in a general sense. These signs are not explicitly affecting me although since attending law school from 2020, myself along with many other female students have been constantly reminded that we are studying to soon enter a still very much male-dominated industry.  

Studies in the last decade have indicated that the imbalance in the legal profession is slowly improving. Although with these improvements studies also showed that harassment and bullying rates for women also saw an increase. 47 percent of women compared to 13 percent of men. 

(3) Who are you inspired by? And what have they done to challenge for a better world?   

Interestingly enough, in year 9, we had to do our English speeches on inspiring women. For that task, I chose Oprah Winfrey for the following reasons:

  • Oprah faced adversity in the early and teenage years of her life. She lived in a then racist America, was a black woman, faced teenage pregnancy, became a single mother, endured early abuse as a child, and an early life filled with poverty. 
  • She is a great role model embodying characteristics such as ambition, drive, and perseverance 
  • She is a positive influence on society and uses her hard-earned social profile to discuss and spread awareness of social issues on her show – e.g. poverty and child abuse 

Closer to home and more generally, as cheesy as it sounds, I’d say my parents are both inspirations in relation to challenging a better world particularly in relation to women’s rights and gender equality. Living in a household with about 75% of us being women, and dad having 3 daughters I’d say there’s a fair amount of women empowerment in our house. The same empowerment and fairness was taught to my sisters and I in relation to treating everyone equally, and not based on features such as age, gender, skin colour, religion, marital status etc.  

(4) What role or impact will you be playing this year in relation to women’s rights or gender equality?   

I think one of the easiest and most effective ways to celebrate international women’s day for 2021 and promote gender equalityis to continue conversations on this topic. Most people are now somewhat aware that gender inequality right now is a reality. Just talking to friends, family and colleagues about topics similar to what has been discussed today is how I will #choosetochallenge. Spreading awareness on equality will also hopefully remove stigmas around women’s rights, in the hopes of encouraging a more equal world for both men and women. 

Thanks Zoe!

A challenged world is an alert world. How will you choose to challenge? Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.  We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Let us celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.