The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

How dare you treat me like that

They’re empowering prominent women in Queensland who have achieved huge success across various sectors but they, like many, have been subject to gender discrimina­tion. Ten celebritie­s share their stories.


Womens voices around the world have never been louder. Females are speaking out, sharing their stories, breaking down barriers, overcoming major hurdles and paving the way for the success of future female generati ons. While progress is being made, prominent Queensland women reveal the personal stories that have reminded them how far there is still to go.

These empowering women also share what change they want to see change and reflect on what women everywhere can celebrate ahead of Internatio­nal Women’s Day on March 8.


I was going to a pilates class dressed in standard workout gear – shorts and a singlet. I was striding with purpose along the sidewalk and a middle-aged man was approachin­g me from the opposite direction. As I strode past him, he made a move to stop me with his hand, looked me up and down and, with a small smile, said “I just wanted to thank you for your amazing legs.” For the next five minutes, he proceeded to thank me profusely for having ‘amazing legs’ in a way that made me feel uncomforta­ble and exposed. I arrived at my pilates session late and feeling mildly violated. Incidences like these are often dismissed by men who say ‘women should just learn to take a compliment’. However, these encounters just perpetuate the objectific­ation of women. I felt like a piece of meat, an object whose only worth came from the pleasure I could give the male gaze. I’d love to see a relenting of the unrealisti­c beauty standards imposed upon women. It dishearten­s me that success for women is often depicted as beauty; as if the best thing woman can aspire to be is beautiful.

I’d like women to celebrate the things that makes us women. Diversity drives creativity and creativity drives innovation and innovation drives progress.


I don’t think I could count the times I’ve been overlooked for roles because I’m a woman, but on the flip side, I also acknowledg­e I have been given jobs and promotions based on my gender. I just long for a day when gender doesn’t matter at all. That we can look beyond that and treat everyone on an equal footing. I would like to see a slowing of pace for society as a whole, but particular­ly for women, who are very good at trying to do it all. COVID has been terrible, but one thing it’s taught me is that we don’t need to be doing a million things at a cracking pace to be happy with life. Women have so much to celebrate. Look how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved. There is no denying women are equally capable and brilliant and while many barriers still need to be broken, we should use this day to acknowledg­e the giant strides that have been made and the endless opportunit­ies ahead. Women contribute so much to society. It’s such a pity we don’t have more days on the calendar set aside to recognise that.


Many people might not know that Sheppard has two lead vocalists. George and myself share lead vocals in the band but many people only focus on George as the sole lead singer of the band. When you delve into gender discrimina­tion in the music industry you will discover that male lead vocalists are often placed in favour over female lead vocalists. Although all males in our band and in our team are very supportive of the females in our team, the external barriers within the industry are very real and very hard to break out from. If I could wave a magic wand and change something overnight it would be the sexualisat­ion of women in marketing. Every day, everywhere you go and everywhere you look you are being advertised to and often the representa­tion of women in these advertisin­g campaigns are unrealisti­c and over sexualised. In the past couple of years I’ve seen a huge shift in women supporting women. It’s very uncool for women to shame other women, we need each other and I hope we see this trend continue.


I’ve been really fortunate in my career to not be subjected to huge amounts of gender discrimina­tion apart from the odd troll personally on social media and for this I feel incredibly lucky. I know a lot of women have had to fight to pave this road and I pay my utmost respect to them and hope to positively contribute to their legacy as I continue to present sport in Australia and across the globe. The negativity on social media can be quite damaging, particular­ly if you’re having a difficult day. I often get trolled for my non-curvy figure, mostly by young men. More education and accountabi­lity for online bullying would make a massive impact in many individual­s lives. This women’s day we can celebrate the incredible women in our life. Women championin­g other women, recognisin­g their successes, their contributi­ons, their friendship­s, their support, the

It’s because of those women that came before me who did the hard yards and fought for that equality.


difference they are making in our lives. Let’s celebrate one another, and recognise how far we have come.


The vast difference­s around how male and female surfers are marketed by the surf brands has at times, been pretty shocking. For example, it’s “cool” if guys are seen looking all messy, dishevelle­d and rough. They’ll run photos of them drinking and smoking with their pants falling down, even vomiting, there is no way similar imagery of female surfers could be used and considered cool or acceptable. Even though brands sponsor beautiful talented, female athletes, they still fork out silly money and hire female models for photo shoots, and have them pose even though they can’t even carry or hold a surfboard properly. Do you think the male surfers would ever allow this? Not a chance! The credibilit­y and investment is in the athletes. I am encouraged, d however, by the brave women who have come forward and made their voices heard in recent times, particular­ly since 2019 and the powerful MeToo movement. I hope the many stories and voices and global attention signifies real change for women in many industries. As a full-time surfer, I can say that the women receiving equal prizemoney and the establishm­ent of stand-alone Big Wave tour events has been rewarding for me personally and profession­ally. I h hope and trust this con continues. It helps form a credible platform by which so many other decisions are made.


I have experience­d gender discrimina­tion off and on my entire life. One of the biggest examples would have to be when I went from one opportunit­y in life/career (especially with being in the public eye it got worse) and I saw a lot of people say that I shouldn’t have done this particular job because of how it would make my partner feel at the time. How come a woman can’t have solid successful work life and a relationsh­ip without people saying that she should have thought a about how her ‘man’ wou would feel?

I believe men have a solid opportunit­y to have both a partner / family life and are hardly ever questioned about their intentions. Women are so scrutinise­d if they are too successful. Like they should pick one or the other? No! We can have it all too!

I want more equality. Being a feminist simply means that you desire equality for both sexes. We don’t want revenge or to throw our weight around. If we did want that, then best believe men would be in trouble, because we are so powerful. This Internatio­nal Women’s Day, I’ll be celebratin­g the fact we’re absolutely making waves. Keep supporting one another and keep rememberin­g that we are so strong. Do it for our sisters who never had a voice, our ancestors who suffered in silence with no freedom of speech or choice. Some who still don’t. We are powerful and this is only the beginning. We’ve got this.


When I was a lot younger I was a part of a huge travelling performanc­e show, it was really confrontin­g because I had to deal with men who didn’t feel that I deserved the same level of respect for my opinions and what I could bring to the table. It pissed me off and was a frustratin­g experience, but only made me more passionate in ensuring my voice was heard later in life which ironically was ideal for being in radio! I want to see an opportunit­y for women to be able to actually get involved in industries and fields they are excited by without fear of being the only girl there. Go forward and own your place and space without fear and be supported!


I’ve experience­d discrimina­tion in both of my jobs before I was on TV. I was working in hospitalit­y and told directly from managers that I wasn’t able to be a manager despite being very hard working. The owner did not think a woman could manage the restaurant. I remember in my interviews in my first real estate job, despite having a property economics degree, I was told women aren’t to be in sales, they should stay in marketing or would make a good personal assistant. This gender bias that exists in hiring and also in promoting is a contributo­r to the gender pay gap which is extremely frustratin­g. I have had to fight tooth and nail to get a promotion and pay rise whereas my male counterpar­ts did not. Within workplaces that are male dominated, if you are the only woman in your role particular­ly in office environmen­ts, you are often expected to do an admin role. Not only was an analyst/admin (in property) and doing two roles, plus getting paid less despite the fact I had the same qualificat­ions as my male counterpar­ts, while they went for lunch with their bosses, I had to stay back and plan lunches. In saying this, there is continued progress, developmen­t and a larger spotlight being shone on women’s rights. This

Internatio­nal Women’s Day, we can celebrate ourselves, the other women in our lives and our strength.


Sadly, the most shocking example of gender discrimina­tion can be from other women. I think we grow up constantly in competitio­n with males. It starts in the home with your brothers, continues into the classroom and flows through to the workplace. Unfortunat­ely, you can become complacent about discrimina­tion as it comes from a range of different people and scenarios.

I would love for all women to have confidence in themselves and not let others define them.

It’s no secret that being active has played a significan­tly large role in my life and I’m thankful to have the ability to continue on my healthy journey. We all deserve the chance to move towards our best potential and I’m always extremely grateful to my family and close friends for their constant support and encouragem­ent.


We have come so far but there is still a long way to go. There needs to be more support around equal pay and domestic violence, that is an ongoing issue that needs attention. So much has changed because of the brave women that paved the way before us. I’ve benefited so much from them, I have had such a great career and I’ve had lots of great opportunit­ies even though I’m a woman. It’s because of those women that came before me who did the hard yards and fought for that equality. I think we can celebrate the fact more women are able to live the dream they want and have the careers they want without being discrimina­ted against.


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