One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

Welcome

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One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesTo mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia's Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As...

What is the Outreach Project?

What is the Outreach Project?

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesSTGA are committed to supporting women by providing basic needs, connecting with them via conversations, and to support by connecting them to the right services. The Outreach Project is not...

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by Charlotte Freeman-Hall |

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia’s Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As you begin to read down the list of prestigious and inspiring health experts, athletes and entrepreneurs, you don’t have to go far before seeing the name of Support the Girl’s very own CEO and Founder, Jane Holmes. Placing just behind Gold Coast Health’s Dr. Kylie Alcorn, an infectious disease expert who has worked on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, Jane has been named as the second most influential woman in the Gold Coast area; a high honour indeed!

Currently working hard in Goonellabah, QLD, to help provide aid to flood victims, it took another volunteer catching sight of the article a day late and sending it to Jane for her to even hear about the impressive honour. “I wasn’t even aware of it!” Jane tells me over the phone. And for those of you who know Jane, you’ll recognize just how typical of her that is: always far more engrossed in doing whatever she can to help those in need than basking in or seeking out any personal accolades. “It is just such an honour to be acknowledged amongst other high achieving and inspirational women,” she says.

Despite her modesty, Jane is no stranger to awards. In 2021 she was crowned the champion at the Harvey Normal Gold Coast Women of the Year awards, which celebrated women who have overcome significant obstacles on their journey to becoming positive and proactive members of the community. Recognitions such as these only scratch the surface of the commitment, passion, empathy and resolve that Jane embodies in her daily work for Support the Girls. Every single person I’ve spoken to at the charity offers up unprompted praise of her. “The thing I’m most proud of at the charity is Jane getting the reputation she has without pandering to people. She just works so hard to achieve for others,” says Deb, one of the charity’s Volunteer Coordinators. When I spoke to Diane, one of Support the Girl’s Directors who has worked with Jane for several years, she tells me that it is “just the sheer tenacity of Jane to keep things going” that has got the charity to where it is now.

As our incredible CEO and Founder is unlikely to start singing her own praises any time soon, we will just have to do it for her. She is an indisputable inspiration to all those out there who wish to help others, and she is more than deserving of the title of ‘Second Most Influential Woman’!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #BreakTheBias: Small actions make big changes

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #BreakTheBias: Small actions make big changes

Welcome

Latest Posts

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesTo mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia's Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As...

What is the Outreach Project?

What is the Outreach Project?

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesSTGA are committed to supporting women by providing basic needs, connecting with them via conversations, and to support by connecting them to the right services. The Outreach Project is not...

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by Jackie Thomas |

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #BreakTheBias: Small actions make big changes

International Women’s Day (IWD) is synonymous with a call to action, and 2022 is no different. In the age of intersectionality, IWD stays on track with the ambition to #BreakTheBias. Looking towards small actions make big changes, this year’s theme aims to target the everyday biases that are found in our communities, workplaces and teaching institutions. It calls for all people to take part in removing stereotypes and discrimination by celebrating diversity and difference.

IWD is asking everyone to ‘strike a pose for solidarity’. It’s a small action to show that you will call out the inequalities and want to break the bias. However, do small actions really work in achieving changes?

When we think of actions that have caused great changes, it conjures up images of marching suffragettes and women’s liberation protests, all yelling for the rights of women while waving placards. There is no doubt these actions propelled the rights of women, but these images are now from bygone times. In recent years, the greatest changes have come from ‘small actions’ that are consistent, and many. In the following, I want to celebrate just some of the amazing achievements from ‘small actions’ by women (and supporters) throughout the world.

2006 IRAN: ONE MILLION SIGNATURES

In 2006, Iranian women organised a simple and effective campaign to reform laws that discriminated against women. They aimed to get one million Iranian citizens to sign a petition asking Parliament for equal rights, including marriage and divorce rights, an end to polygamous marriages, equal inheritance rights, equal rights to testimony in the country, harsher punishments for honour killings, and more.

Even though the two-year campaign never reached its million-signature goal, it did manage to make significant changes to the lives of Iranian women. Its main aim was to raise awareness to the public of the discrimination and, according to its campaign organisers, “No one is afraid to talk about more rights for women anymore. This is a big achievement.”

Iranian women today make up over 60% of university graduates, are getting married on average at age 25 (despite 13 being legal age), and polygamous marriages now require equal consent of all parties. While the laws still lack parity with men, further legislation has gained more protection for women. Despite harassment and arrests, activists continue the fight for equality and their One Million campaign brought the plight of Iranian women to the international stage.

2011: SAUDI ARABIA DRIVING BAN

The raise of social media platforms was instrumental in gaining global attention for Saudi Arabian women and their right to drive. In one of the largest en masse actions, women took to their devises and launched continuing posts on Facebook and Twitter to highlight the injustices and organise protests of the driving ban.

Many women were arrested or detained, and the posts triggered an intensified crackdown on activists. However, their efforts weren’t ignored and their cause grabbed global attention. With increased pressure and the country’s desire to further financial ties with the West, King Salman issued a statement recognising the right of Saudi women to drive in 2018. Tens of thousands of licenses have been issued to women across the country giving them the freedom of movement they’ve never had before.

2012: UGANDA GRASSROOTS BAN OF FGC

In 2012, the United Nations unanimously voted to ban female genital cutting (FGC). This cultural tradition is considered an initiation into adulthood, but has long proved to be painful, medically unnecessary and often dangerous to millions of women and girls around the world.

The UN resolution was a huge win after the many years of activism to bring this issue to international attention. However, little changed in practice until grassroots engagement through education and community involvement sought change at the cultural level.

In Uganda, FGC was banned in 2010. Unfortunately this did little to stop the process but instead saw the practice go underground. Realising that the community believed the practice was a necessity for young girls, activists sought to educate the impact of FGC to the gatekeepers of the culture and social norms – the community elders. By engaging the community directly, through media and education, the community is now championing its own program of change. There are currently over 60 community activists in Uganda who work tirelessly to bring about this ban and continue to spread change.

2015: EMMA SULKOWICZ ‘CARRY THAT WEIGHT’

Emma Sulkowicz, better known as ‘Mattress Girl’, carried a 23kg dorm mattress around Columbia University in nearly a year-long visual arts thesis between September 2014 and May 2015. Using the slogan, ‘Carry That Weight’, Emma used her art performance to protest the college’s lack of action to remove a student she accused of sexual violence towards her.

Emma’s actions brought attention to the issues of sexual violence on university campuses, which rarely ended in legal or educational consequences for the perpetrators. It received national and international notice and triggered further protests on other campuses and universities throughout the US. Carry That Weight campaign created real changes in the university system on how they deal and investigate sexual assault allegations. While legal protection for victims on campuses still have a long way to go, other movements have taken off, such as End Rape on Campus and #MeToo.

2017: #METOO MOVEMENT TAKES OFF

Activist Tarana Burke first termed the use of ‘Me Too’ back in 2006. Its aim was to be a platform for victims to show they are not alone, and also demonstrate how wide spread the extent of sexual harassment has effected so many people. Since then, thousands of people have shared their stories thanks to celebrity voices joining the movement and adding their experiences to the already startling number of accounts.

The movement really took off in 2017, after accusations of sexual assault against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein were made public. The wave of allegations detailing the inherent culture of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry finally came to light. In response, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The avalanche of replies encouraged other women everywhere to come forward to tell their story. This movement quickly catapulted around the world and has made big impacts finding justice and voices for victims.

2020: GROWING TREND OF ETHICAL FASHION

In the early 1990s, Nike was subjected to one of the biggest boycotts of the fashion industry. Not only were they exposed for their environmental breaches, but the full impact of terrible working conditions and low wages were highlighted in their Indonesian factories. It was soon revealed Nike was the tip of the iceberg, and the entire corporate culture of the fashion industry revolved around increasing profits at the expense of the environment, workers’ rights and the unethical treatment of animals.

The Nike boycott triggered the concept of ethical fashion and, 30 years on, we now see the raise of many eco conscious brands. It also forced many established brands to learn from the past and create better and safer practices for its workers, as well as take responsibility for their impact on the environmental policy.
In 2006, EFF was established with the aim to create fashion brands with a ‘positive environmental and social impact’. Starting with only 20 members, it now has thousands across the world and has helped lots of businesses produce ethical and sustainable work practices in the fashion industry.

Small Ways to Make Big Changes to the Climate Crisis

Small Ways to Make Big Changes to the Climate Crisis

Welcome

Latest Posts

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesTo mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia's Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As...

What is the Outreach Project?

What is the Outreach Project?

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesSTGA are committed to supporting women by providing basic needs, connecting with them via conversations, and to support by connecting them to the right services. The Outreach Project is not...

Let’s be friends

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By Charlotte Freeman-Hall |

Small Ways to Make Big Changes to the Climate Crisis

Climate change is currently an unavoidable fact of life; as global temperatures climb, extreme weather conditions increase worldwide, and sea levels continue to rise. We all care about the planet, but in the wake of these vast effects, adopting a sustainable lifestyle can often seem overwhelming and perhaps even a little futile. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many steps we can all take in our everyday lives to help make a difference – from the smallest of changes in what you buy, to a little extra planning when it comes to cooking dinner. Here are some easy, but potentially planet-saving changes you can make:

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

Brushing your teeth

Swap to a bamboo toothbrush to minimise plastic waste. These toothbrushes are not only made of bamboo, they also come free from any wasteful plastic packaging. You can now find them in almost all major supermarkets and chemists. There are also bamboo electric toothbrushes available too. 

You can also substitute your tubes of toothpaste for completely plastic-free toothpaste tablets. Simply chew, brush and rinse.

Shaving

Say goodbye to crappy disposable razors, and hello to safety razors. Made from various metals and alloys, these are sleek, fully recyclable and completely plastic-free. Billions of plastic razors end up in landfill sites every year1, so not only will this switch look more stylish, you’ll be well on your way to a plastic-free bathroom routine.

Cotton buds

These multipurpose items are one of the most problematic litter items found on beaches across the world2. Try compostable bamboo buds, or reusable silicone buds.

Periods

Still a somewhat taboo subject, yet an incredible opportunity to make a difference to your waste. Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons – which nearly all ends up in landfill3. There are a few alternatives out there so have a look around and see what might be right for you.

Sustainable pads are made out of plant fibres or organic cotton, with zero plastic waste. Reusable cloth pads and period pants are also all the rage. So many brands are now rolling these out that it’s not hard to find comfy, sexy and absorbent options. Then there’s the menstrual cup, also known as mooncups or organicups. These are the ultimate way of reducing our period waste, as one cup can last you up to 10 years! They’re a healthy, comfy, money and planet-saving winner!

Toilet paper

Look for eco-friendly recycled toilet paper. There are plenty on the market, just check the label next time you are in the supermarket.

Makeup wipes

It takes makeup wipes years to break down in landfill4, so try one of the many, eco-friendly alternatives: reusable makeup remover pads, washable wipes, or microfiber cloths.

KITCHEN

Beeswax wraps

Stop buying planet-polluting cling film, and invest in beeswax wraps. Buy your wraps with a beeswax stick so you can replenish and they’ll last even longer.

Meal planning

Cut down food waste by planning your meals throughout the week. There are now several great apps that can help you not only plan your weekly meals, but give you great ideas for what to do with your leftovers. Good for the bank account as well as the planet.

Less meat

Unfortunately meat production really is one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emission. Reduce your meat intake where you can, perhaps limit yourself to once or twice a week, or special occasions. Buy local if you have the option to do so, to reduce transportation fumes, and mass plastic packaging.

Fruit and veg

Another opportunity to buy local produce when you can. Or even better, start growing your own! 

LIVING

Detergent

There are several alternatives now available to replace liquid and powder detergents. Neither of these are particularly good for the environment (although plastic bottles of detergent are slightly better as long as the bottles are recyclable). Why not try soap nuts or eco strips as a more sustainable option? 

Fast fashion

Try to say ‘no’ to fast fashion, it’s an enormously wasteful industry. Try buying second-hand, patch old clothes or buy high-quality garments that will last longer. Be discerning with where you shop, and check to see if they pay their workers well, have local supply chains and use sustainably sourced materials.

Refill stations

Many supermarkets and organic shops now have refill stations, where you can replenish anything from shampoo to dog treats, soap to peanuts. Simply take your existing glass or (recyclable) plastic bottle or container to your local refill station, and dispense the amount you want. 

Well that’s it! Lots of food for thought here I hope. And I’m sure there are many, many more eco-friendly methods and substitutes out there. Think of the difference you could make by switching out any one of these items or habits, by making just a simple change to your routine or weekly shop. And once you’ve tried some of these solutions and realised how great they are (I hope), spread the word! Tell your housemate, tell your sister, tell your grandma. Encourage them to make the changes you’ve made. And together we can all make a difference.

From Corsets to Bra-Burning, Dignity to Freedom: Changing Attitudes Towards Bras

From Corsets to Bra-Burning, Dignity to Freedom: Changing Attitudes Towards Bras

Welcome

Latest Posts

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesTo mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia's Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As...

What is the Outreach Project?

What is the Outreach Project?

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesSTGA are committed to supporting women by providing basic needs, connecting with them via conversations, and to support by connecting them to the right services. The Outreach Project is not...

Let’s be friends

Categories

By Charlotte Freeman-Hall |

From Corsets to Bra-Burning, Dignity to Freedom: Changing Attitudes Towards Bras

For women in the 21st century, the bra can signify many things. For some it is a necessity, for others a sign of femininity. Some women wear one as a means of comfort, or dignity, whilst others see it as a tool of male objectification. Overall, it is now widely considered a woman’s choice as to whether she wears a bra or not, and indeed what type of bra she wears. But it wasn’t always this way.

The bra, its usage, design and symbolism have come a long way over the centuries. They have been worn throughout history to support, conceal, modify, enhance, restrain and even reveal breasts. And this journey is closely interwoven not only with the evolution of fashion, but with changing views of the female body and the evolution of the status of women in society.

So, it’s unsurprising that our decision to wear or not wear a bra nowadays is inextricably linked not only with our levels of physical comfort, but with our perceived ideas of feminism, freedom, and objectification by men.

So how did we get here?

Bra-like items have likely been around from as early as the 14th century BC. By the 16th century AD, the corset was the main undergarment worn in the Western world. This had a number of functions, from shaping the waist and breasts, to supporting them by transferring weight to the rib cage. These garments gradually evolved into items more closely resembling the modern-day bras in the 20th century.

But it was second-wave feminism and ‘bra-burning’ that brought the bra into the public’s eye. At the Miss America protest in 1968, protestors symbolically threw a number of feminine products, including bras, into a ‘Freedom Trash Can’.

The bra had come to be seen by the Feminist movement as an ‘instrument of female torture’, a symbol of enforced femininity by a patriarchal society. Some people present at the protest said no one burned a bra, some claim that lingerie was burned, if only briefly.  While many feminists state they didn’t burn bras that day, countless women stopped wearing them in protest.

The stories and the reporting from that day have forever linked feminism with bra-burning, a link that has remained in popular culture until this day.

As a result of the 1968 protest, an anti-bra movement took hold. Conversation around the bra became more public than ever before, with many complaining of the restrictive and uncomfortable designs of bras, as well as seeing them as a symbol of repression. Women chose not to wear bras as a political statement, to shock and anger the men dominating society, and to take back ownership of their bodies.

How do we feel about bras now?

Women all over the world now choose not to wear bras for all kinds of reasons – defiance, discomfort, freedom, or just to embrace their natural bodies.

However, a large majority of women continue to feel that they have to wear bras, particularly when going to work.

Why should it feel wrong to go bra-free at work?

Our cultural history has hyper-sexualised breasts to the extent that modern women feel self-conscious and even embarrassed when the natural shape of this body part becomes visible. And due to the largely male majority still present in many organisations, the female body is still seen as a ‘distraction’ at work.

Although some women manage to overcome these gender biases and go bra-free at work, many still feel the need to make their natural female curves as unnoticeable and non-distracting to their male colleagues as possible.

Is it women’s attire, or men’s attitudes that are the real problem here?

Bra-wearing should purely be down to woman’s choice. For those who feel that bras are a discomfort, especially if you are having to wear them all day long, they should be able to discard these garments without judgement.

But for many women, wearing a bra is still how they feel most comfortable, both at work and outside of it. Wearing a bra can provide a sense of dignity and self-care, feelings that should be encouraged in all women. It’s all about choice, empowering women to decide what’s best for them.

And if wearing a bra makes a woman feel sexy or confident, then that’s great too.

Of course, going braless is not an option for everyone. Women with larger breasts can often suffer from back and other problems if they don’t wear a comfortable, supportive and well-fitted bra. Bras can also greatly help with pre-menstrual tenderness, and other breast-related discomforts.

As bra manufacturing has evolved, it has become far easier to find underwear that doesn’t pinch, rub or chafe, especially when properly fitted. Making it easier and more comfortable for women to wear bras throughout the workday if they so desire.

It’s all about female agency and independent choice. Women should be able to choose and wear what feels right for them.

And this is where we come in. Support the Girls Australia is an association dedicated to empowering women, to helping provide them with dignity and independence, and to ensuring their wellbeing. A large aspect of our work is community outreach, and we are perhaps best-known for our bra gifting events.

Not all women have access to, or the means to buy, well-fitting bras, and at our bra-gifting days we provide women with free bra-fitting sessions, bras and underwear, as well as toiletries, and menstrual hygiene products.

The aim is to provide women with often much-needed essential items, to provide an ear to listen, and a helping hand. We aim through this to instil a sense of self-worth and self-care, as well as help provide for their physical wellbeing.

We want women everywhere to be able to embrace their bodies, and make the choices that are best for them. And we are here to help them do that.

Navigating Boundaries during the Holiday Season

Navigating Boundaries during the Holiday Season

Welcome

Latest Posts

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

One of Gold Coast’s most Influential Women!

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesTo mark International Women’s Day on March 8 2022, the Gold Coast Bulletin (a daily newspaper serving Australia's Gold Coast region) compiled a list of the city’s most influential women. As...

What is the Outreach Project?

What is the Outreach Project?

WelcomeLatest PostsLet's be friendsfacebookinstagramtwitterlinkedinCategoriesSTGA are committed to supporting women by providing basic needs, connecting with them via conversations, and to support by connecting them to the right services. The Outreach Project is not...

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By Hannah Cirson |

Navigating Boundaries during the Holiday Season

The holiday season is the best part of the year for some people, but for others it can stir up a lot of uncertainty. Perhaps you and your parents/guardians don’t get along or, you know that some family issues may be brought up that could result in an argument, or maybe there is someone in your family circle that makes you uncomfortable. 

As the holidays draw closer, I find myself almost dreading spending days on end with my family, and what feels like no way to escape. Being around certain members of my own family causes me a lot of anxiety. This can have a lasting effect on my mental health and how I interact with other people in my life who may not understand why this period is particularly difficult for me.

After another challenging year, it’s safe to say that there are many people who are extremely excited for the quality time they get to spend with loved ones, however, many of us are left feeling drained and anxious just thinking about it.

To be honest, when your family history is complicated, the holiday period can feel extremely… isolating. Seeing other’s post about their happy families can be heartbreaking for some. Almost as if a feeling of grief washes over you, mourning what kind of family others have that you’d always wanted and deserved.

I know how difficult this period can be, and every reason for your worries are valid, so I wanted to share some tips on how to navigate these difficult boundaries in an attempt to not only help myself through yet another rough holiday period, but all of you who struggle with similar issues.

Work out what you need to feel comfortable

I know this seems cliché, or even like it won’t work, but checking in on yourself to see what you need in the moment can be extremely helpful to making the holidays as easy-going as they can be.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed don’t be afraid to step outside to get some fresh air or call a friend you know might be available to vent to. These things that may seem so small can lift the weight off your shoulders, even for a little bit.

If you find that you’re overthinking a lot, taking the time to write down your feelings or even processing the day’s events through your mind can help to resolve anything that leaves you feeling uncomfortable or sad.

Make a Roadmap

Making a calendar or schedule of your responsibilities and obligations can help to allocate yourself some ‘me time’. When you might go on a drive or spend some time watching a movie to get your mind off anything that may be bothering you.

Doing this will allow you to be able to allocate time to help keep family members happy with your attendance without sacrificing time for yourself and your state of mind. Doing this helps to keep a balance, stopping the stress from consuming you.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re choosing activities you know will calm you down and ground you to the present moment. This looks different for everyone, make sure to evaluate what you really enjoy and try to arrange to do this at some point, it can make a world of a difference.

Dealing with difficult family members

Families are complicated, that is a fact. For some, more than others but no matter what your family relationships and history is like, your feelings are valid. Don’t forget that. 

So what do you do when your boundaries are crossed or not respected? How do you navigate making sure that they’re being respected whilst also being respectful?

You could try and bring things up in a calm manner, if someone has said or done something to hurt or offend you, try to approach things with a calm tone. You can also try speaking with your sentences saying with “I feel” such as “I feel like I’m worthless when you say these things to me” Often, people respond better and can empathise better when you speak calmly about your feelings.

You can also try removing yourself from the situation. If things are starting to get heated with another family member, it’s okay to say things like “I don’t feel like I’m in the right headspace to speak about this right now, I’m happy to talk about this later after I’ve had some time to calm down”. 

I know that the holiday period can be so overwhelming and frightening but don’t forget that your feelings are valid and that you should never have to sacrifice your wellbeing and happiness to please others.

At the end of the day you have to remember that you are the most important person in your life and if attending family events is going to sacrifice your mental health and wellbeing, it is more than okay to say no or to limit your time with them. Although it can seem daunting, try explaining why you don’t feel comfortable going. Although not everyone will understand your reasoning, you’ll feel a lot better putting yourself first rather than sacrificing pieces of you to please others. 

I hope that you get the love and support that you all deserve this holiday season.