I don't normally like to mix my work life with my art life, but on this occasion, I'm going to.
As you know, by night I'm a writer of dark comic fantasy fiction. By day I'm a communications specialist at a cool little marketing company called ipCreative.
In the course of my day job, I've encountered an initiative called 100 Days for Change, started by Women and Leadership Australia, which aims to bring about greater gender equity in the workplace through a series of grass roots changes by ordinary people. All that's required is to make a pledge here on what you will change to create greater gender equity in the workplace, and then post it on social media with the hashtag #100daysforchange. Then go out and do it! The initiative is being championed by Kristal Kinsela of ipCreative's sister business, IPS - you can check out a cool video of Kristal talking about the initiative here.
What I like about 100 Days for Change is the approach: when seeking any major change, it's far more effective to simply get in there, boots and all, do it yourself, than wait for legislation to come down from on high.
Here's my pledge:
This is really important to me. I've always done my best to write strong female characters in my fiction, precisely because it was strong female characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena Warrior Princess, and Sarah Connor when I was growing up that inspired me to always stand on my own two feet, and speak up when something wasn't right.
There are a few more strong female characters in popular fiction/film now. We've had Wonder Woman charging across the trenches, Captain Janeway showing no mercy, and fabulous films like Heat, where Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock were strong, pig headed, flawed, human, and wonderful - far more than just a pretty accessory. Pop culture just as easily goes the other way though - and every time I see a female character who is just there for decoration, or who starts off strong and ends the story needing rescue (hello Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) I cringe. As a woman, I want to be more than that. I want heroines who inspire me.
Stories are the way in which we understand our world. They reflect us back at ourselves. They plant seeds and ideas that grow into the realities of the future, because you can't make something solid happen without the spark, the idea, that starts it all off. (Remember Monkey Magic, back in the 1980s? In the opening of every episode, they told us - "The Father Buddha said: With our thoughts, we make the world.")
As a writer, and as a marketing professional, I want to be a part of creating stories, images and ideas that mirror to younger women and girls their own potential: that they can be anything, go as far as they choose, and that they do not have to live lives limited by traditional gender roles. I want to help make a world where there are stories, ideas, and spaces for the strong, independent women of the future.