News National International Women’s Day: Prominent Australians reveal the best – and worst – of womanhood
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International Women’s Day: Prominent Australians reveal the best – and worst – of womanhood

Women's March - Time's Up Rally in London
Thousands of people gather outside Downing Street to take part in Time's Up rally organised by Women's March London. Photo: Getty
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Amid the growing ‘Me Too’ and ‘Time’s Up’ campaigns, prominent Australian women have used the occasion of International Women’s Day to call for gender parity – and celebrate the best parts of being a woman.

The global celebration on March 8 will capitalise on the momentum created by the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal while also commemorating women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural and political realms.

According to the latest figures from the World Economic Forum, gender parity is 217 years away.

In light of this continuing fight for equality, The New Daily asked 13 influential Australian women for their opinions on the best and worst parts of being female.

Sophie Monk, 38, host of Love Island Australia

Sophie Monk on the red carpet
Former Bachelorette star Sophie Monk broke ratings records for the hit series when The Bachelorette Australia re-launched in 2017. Photo: Getty

Best

One thing I do love is being able to have those D&Ms with your friends. Women are conversationalists, and love having a good debrief and letting it all out. Not to mention, all the empowering women we are surrounded by nowadays, it’s bloody inspiring.

Worst

Let’s go ahead and say the worst thing would probably be my PMS!

Linda Burney, 60, federal MP for Barton (NSW)

Linda Burney is the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives. Photo: Getty

Best

You’re part of a sisterhood that is the majority of people in the whole world. It’s also fabulous in the sense that you, in my case anyhow, have this wonderful group of female friends that have been my friends for up to 45 years. We stay together as a group and some of those women have helped me stand up when life has been very difficult.

Worst

Women do carry an enormous load of domestic work. But when you look at the international scene and see the way in which women are used as weapons of war, where rape has become a part of subjugating people, and you also look at the literacy rates for girls across the world – those are the most terrible parts.

Georgie Gardner, 47, co-host of Today

Georgie Gardner
Mother-of-two Georgie Gardner is co-host of Nine’s breakfast show. Photo: AAP

Best

The best thing about being a woman is being able to give birth to a baby.

Worst

Going through child birth!

Sylvia Jeffreys, 31, news presenter on Today

Sylvia Jeffreys at the inaugural Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) Centre for Fashion Ball. Photo: Getty

Best

The best thing about being a woman is the strong bond between female relationships.

Worst

The worst thing is the feeling of martyrdom.

Janine Allis, 52, founder of Boost Juice

In 2015, business magazine BRW named Janine Allis one of 15 people who changed the way Australia does business in the past 35 years. Photo: Getty 

Best

There is much to love about being a woman. We can carry a child, we can create deep and lasting friendships, our special relationships with our mothers, and there is so much more choice for fashion. We know the only barrier to life is ourselves. We can achieve anything.

Worst

Other than the obvious once-a-month complaint – there is nothing worse about being a woman. I love being a woman!

Professor Fiona Wood, 60, director of the Royal Perth Hospital burns unit and Western Australia Burns Service

Fiona Wood’s enduring legacy is in her work with co-inventor Marie Stoner, pioneering the innovative ‘spray-on skin’ technique (Recell), where today the technique is used worldwide.

Best

As I look over my life, the privilege of having children is extraordinary. The lifelong friendships, there’s a real depth to them. I have lived a charmed life professionally and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Worst

On a personal level, I have nothing to whinge about but when I stand back and look around me, I see that not every woman in the world by a long way enjoys the privilege of equality.

Penny Wong, 49, Labor senator for South Australia

Senator Penny Wong celebrates the passing of the marriage equality bill on November 29, 2017. Photo: Getty

Best

The great opportunities open to me in this age to be able to pursue the career of my choice, and the life I choose to lead.

Worst

The fact these rights are still denied to many women solely because of their gender. We’ve come a long way but still have much to do.

Collette Dinnigan, 52, Australian fashion designer

Collette Dinnigan was recognised in the Queen's Birthday 2017 Honour's List
Collette Dinnigan was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honour’s List. Photo: Getty

Best

It’s that I have my children and being a mother. I don’t think there is anything in the world that can replace the joy that they bring even though they’re very demanding at times.

Worst

There’s nothing that I really have an issue with. I would not ever want to change being who I am to be a man.

Jane Caro, 60, social commentator, author and documentary maker

Jane Caro has been the recipient of many national and international awards. Photo: Getty

Best

You’ve got something bigger than yourself to fight for. When a bloke, particularly a straight white bloke, gets a promotion or achieves something, that’s great but they only do it for themselves. Whereas every time a woman makes a difference, steps forward, gets noticed, gets a promotion, she’s doing it for all women as well as for herself. There’s something really motivating about that and there’s something very satisfying about knowing that it’s about furthering your entire gender.

Worst

We still are trivialised, not taken seriously, our input is not as valuable, our contribution not seen as worthy. If we are successful or we do something or achieve something, it’s still more likely to be thought of as a fluke and we have to prove ourselves every single time. There’s less confidence in our ability and in our value. That is very dispiriting, it’s very exhausting. We do too much and part of doing too much is trying to prove over and over and over again that we really are worthwhile.

May Hu, 63, producer of SBS Radio’s Mandarin program

May Hu was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2010.

Best

Women can be successful in their career, women can do most of the things that men can do. We are able to be financially and socially independent.

Worst

Family violence. Unfortunately, after 100 years of striving and working, so many women and women’s organisations around the world try to reach equal footing with men but family violence still happens everywhere. I’ve been living in Australia for 30 years. I’ve seen many colleagues, friends and people within the Chinese community who have suffered from family violence. It’s really painful. We want to be equal with men in life, our career and in having shared family responsibilities.

Stefania Ferrario, 24, Myer beauty ambassador and plus-size model

Stefania Ferrario at the Myer Beauty Campaign Launch on February 28. Photo: Getty

Best

We have far more clothing options than men.

Worst

The pressures of what a woman should look like. You don’t have to have long thick hair and a super slim bod to be deemed a real “woman” or “feminine”.

Chloe Shorten, 46, writer, ambassador for Our Watch and wife to Labor leader Bill Shorten

Chloe Shorten’s second book is due out next month. Photo: Facebook

Best

Being a mum.

Worst

Knowing eight women are hospitalised every day because of family violence.

Tina Yong, 27, Myer beauty ambassador and Australian/Vietnamese beauty blogger

Tina Yong at the Myer Beauty Campaign Launch on February 28. Photo: Getty

Best

To be able to express ourselves in many different forms whether it be through our work, the clothes we wear or the makeup we put on.

Worst

Being told we can’t do something because we are women.

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