Don’t put being bold on hold.
As a young Australian woman actively working to make a difference in a traditionally male dominated industry, today is a special day for me, and I hope a day that many of my fellow entrepreneurs, colleagues and friends are celebrating also.
Today is International Women’s Day, a day that marks the achievements of women across the globe, and the progress we have made in recognising equality in the workplace.
This year’s theme, “Be Bold for Change”, has resonated with me more than any other year, because it is through being bold that has landed me exactly where I am today.
As an accountant deciding to make an Australian first maternity line for women in construction, transport and mining, I faced a considerable amount of criticism.
“You’re not a designer,” some said. “That’s going to cost you a lot to set up, what if you’re just throwing it away on a whim?” others questioned.
This sort of feedback or commentary is pretty hard to shrug off. The more you hear it, the more you believe it. They were right after all, accountants don’t design clothes! What was I thinking?
I’ll tell you what I was thinking.
I was thinking pregnant women shouldn’t be made to wear singlets with men’s high vis shirts unbuttoned over the top. It wouldn’t happen in a professional metro office, why should it happen in a mining office?
I was thinking, “Why hasn’t this been done before?” This was such a simple idea. Maternity clothes have been around for ages, and yet because a woman chooses to work in a role that requires hi vis workwear, she misses out on work appropriate clothing.
I had the idea. There was a definite audience for the product. And it was a shake up for the industry. Why couldn’t it be me to create this Australian-first product, and expand into a greater workwear line for women?
I made the bold move and enveloped myself in design, Australian safety standards, manufacturing and a plethora of new learnings. There was a lot I didn’t know when I started, and there were significant hurdles along the way, but four years later, I write this not as an accountant, but as the creator of She’s Empowered – a successful women’s workwear range for the mining, construction and transport industry.
I’ve been featured in media, won numerous industry and business awards, and was inducted into the Australian Businesswoman’s Hall of Fame last year.
I urge every woman reading this to find their own version of bold, and go for it. Maybe you want to transition from full time to part time for an improved work life balance. Maybe you want to take a gap year to travel the world. Whatever your bold move is, set yourself a goal and work hard to achieve it. It’s on your mind for a reason.