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CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY AT HAPPY WAY

CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY AT HAPPY WAY

International Women’s Day is a day where we can come together to celebrate, empower, educate and make a positive difference for women. It’s a day that we care deeply about at Happy Way, not only because of the opportunity to celebrate each other's successes, strengths and individualities but because we can also use our voices to speak up, provoke change and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives—even if it impacts and empowers just one person.

This year, the IWD theme is #BreakTheBias and is focused on gender equality, knocking down barriers, and creating a world that is free of stereotypes and discrimination—instead, building one that is inclusive, diverse and equitable.

To celebrate IWD and open the discussion on the importance of this to women everywhere, this year at Happy Way we’ve spoken to each other—the women here in Happy Way HQ. Each of these strong, powerful and inspiring women have been honest and raw in sharing their stories. They’ve described what #BreakTheBias means to them and how important inclusivity and gender equality is in the workplace. 

We hope that through their words and openness, you celebrate the superwomen in your life and feel empowered to make positive change for women everywhere—Happy International Women’s Day.

International Women's Day

MALISSA – HW NUTRITIONIST

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means that as women, we can feel like we can have a voice without judgement or discrimination from the opposite sex. We can stand in our power and not be judged or criticised based on our sex and we’re given equal opportunities to that of a male in the same position as us. 

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

Whether it be in the workforce or in personal relationships, there have been many times when I felt intimidated to share my opinions or have been ridiculed for standing up for myself and my beliefs, resulting in being ‘corrected’ by a male. It’s not a nice feeling to be made to feel like you’re not good enough just because you have a different view or opinion on something.

How do I handle this? I now handle this by sharing that I may not be an expert in everything but asking questions, being inquisitive and doing my best to understand a new topic or situation is far from ‘silly’. This should be seen as a strength and whoever is mansplaining or can’t be supportive of someone trying to learn is in fact the weak one in this situation and just trying to feel powerful. I don’t waste my time anymore with those kinds of people and instead, seek to get advice from a real expert that’s happy to help. 

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

That women simply can’t do as much as men can or further their careers in the same way. Women have serious superpowers! Whilst maintaining kick-ass careers, some women also choose to mother children. They wear all the hats—from a boss to a mother, wife, friend and support network, while still finding time to keep fit, practise their hobbies and in a lot of cases, also maintain an entire household! Women can do everything and anything they desire.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

Simply by just finding confidence within and speaking up. For me, this has taken a really long time and is something I’m still working on. I’ve not always been the most confident and never wanted to upset anyone, but in life, you have to put yourself first and know your worth. If you don’t, it will be a never-ending cycle of people taking advantage of you. Stand in your power. 

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

Incredibly important! At the very least our workplace should be somewhere we can go to feel celebrated for our abilities and the things we contribute. It’s 2022—if your workplace is not supportive, inclusive and celebrates your individuality then what are you doing there?

CHARLOTTE – HW GRAPHIC DESIGNER

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means women can live without the fear of walking down the street at night, without being criticised for saying something offensive or ‘inappropriate’, or being objectified or judged in any way. It means living in an equal and safe world.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

There have been multiple times when I’ve felt this way! Having a male walk in on me when I was half-naked in a clothing store change room when I was only 15—the cops brushed this off saying, ‘he does this all the time.’ Being harassed by two men whilst I was on a run. Being the only girl in a male-dominated uni class and having the male teacher assist every student except for me. One day I wore a short skirt and he dropped his pen by my feet—he helped me with my assignment that day. 

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

I would change the stigma around what is expected of women. The types of jobs women ‘should have’ or the things women ‘should do’. I hope for a world where women are respected by ALL men and can do anything they want without fear or judgment. 

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

I broke the bias by realising I am worthy. Everything that has happened to me in the past could’ve made me feel like I am not good enough or stripped me of my confidence. But I came to the realisation that those things should’ve never happened, that it’s not my fault they did happen, and that I’m worthy of happiness, success and respect. 

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

So important. My last workplace was an office run by roughly 50+ amazing women with one or two men, and now I’m at Happy Way with a small team of females and two male bosses who motivate me and push me outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never felt so empowered, worthy and valued. Working amongst other talented and strong women makes me so proud and honoured to be a part of this Happy Way team.

Happy Way team

OLIVIA – HW CUSTOMER HAPPINESS TEAM

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means women are celebrated and not judged. It means women are held to the same standards as men. It means finally being free of the biases that chain us to a single identity. From the outside, that looks like women in the workplace, women at home, women in sports, women in all aspects of life with no underlying judgment.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

In previous workplaces, I was not only the only girl but I was also the youngest! I was judged solely on my age and then not taken seriously because of my gender. I was treated like an object. I was screamed at, taken advantage of and even sexually harassed. I handled it by finding my voice—a voice that’s allowed me to stand up for myself and not be intimidated because men have a bias of power. I changed the narrative for myself. 

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

I would change how women are viewed as working mums! It has always bothered me that a working father is considered an involved dad but a working mum is looked down on as too obsessed with her career. Women are not given enough credit for all the expectations they are held to. For women, things are simply expected with no recognition, yet for men, they’re applauded and celebrated for the same things.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

I stood up for myself. If I felt I was treated unfairly because of my gender, I had to trust that gut instinct of mine, because it’s usually right. I stopped saying sorry and started coming into my own.

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

Going from one workplace that uses gender as a penalisation, to one at Happy Way that celebrates these core values, I can say it is extremely important to me! It often gets brushed off as irrelevant but mentally, emotionally and spiritually it has empowered me, not only at work but how I carry myself in life as a proud woman coming into my own.

STACEY – HW COPYWRITER

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It looks like a place where women don’t have to justify their opinions, feelings or desires to a man or anyone else. It’s a place where there are no double standards. It’s where women feel completely free to be who they are, without having to explain or suppress themselves in any way. It’s where we’re given equal opportunities, equal pay, and are recognised and celebrated for the things we do day in and day out, without expectation or the need for applause.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

There have been many times but I’ve often felt this in previous personal relationships and as a child growing up in the family home. This is with anything from the expectations of gender roles in the household, being told what I should be wearing—just in general, for an occasion, or for my age—getting laughed at or ridiculed for my dreams and aspirations, or being told where I can and cannot go or who I can and cannot talk to.

When you struggle with your sense of self-worth, you tolerate behaviours because you don’t think you deserve any better. The problem is that when you feel this way, you continue to attract people into your life who take advantage of this and who need to exert their power over you to feel superior. I’ve had to do a lot of work on my self-worth and it’s work that will never end. I’ve also learnt to trust my gut and my intuition, even earlier than I’ve done in the past. My intuition is my superpower!

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

I would change the expectations of women, especially those set by men. What women should earn, what their bodies should look like, what they can do professionally. Even the expectation that women should be in a certain place in their life by the time they're, say 40, because what, if they’re not they’ve failed somehow? The only place you should strive to be at by the age of 40, or any age for that matter, is in complete happiness with your life. Whether that’s being a single successful career woman, a married mum of 3, or someone who’s in a loving relationship with no kids. Being a mum or a wife is not every woman’s life goal, nor does it mean that she’s any less happy, fulfilled or successful than a woman who’s married with 3 kids.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

I listened to my inner voice. I looked at my own personal values and realised what lit me up inside. And I trusted that what I was feeling was ok and it didn’t need to be explained to anyone! I acknowledged that I am a strong, powerful woman and that who I am should never be suppressed by anyone. The people who are meant to be in my life will love and celebrate me for who I am, not try to change me to be someone I’m not or who they think I should be. 

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

Extremely important. Workplace culture is something I value deeply and feel is crucial to any successful workplace. Coming to work every day and being amongst such empowering, inspiring and diverse women is such a blessing. I feel supported and encouraged to share my thoughts and opinions and I feel our leaders provide us with a space where we feel heard and valued. Coming from a workplace where I was humiliated in front of my peers by my leader, who I believed respected me, I feel so grateful to be a part of this HW team.

International Women's Day

NATALIA – HW GRAPHIC DESIGNER

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means that both women and men have, and enjoy the same opportunities, rights and responsibilities. A world with gender equality will prevent violence against women and allow us to have equal access to decision-making power—this includes higher positions, such as in government, where the percentage of women is very low compared to men.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

I have felt vulnerable walking alone at night or doing certain activities alone. I’ve felt more vulnerable to being assaulted or raped, and just uncomfortable around men who look at me in a certain way. Just the feeling of not being safe is something I've always lived with. I’ve also had experiences in previous workplaces where they’ve assumed I can't do things because of my gender, saying things like ‘that's a boy thing’.

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

The stereotype that when a woman speaks or says what she thinks, she is judged for being too strong or too opinionated—because women are supposed to be loving, delicate and nice all of the time, right? People assume that women are too weak, or not assertive enough to be in these positions of power, but when we show our strength, we are considered bossy or ‘too much’. It’s unfair and a double standard.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are

I still need to work harder to break the bias, by questioning why things are the way they are and how I can change them. Identifying all of the micro-aggressions that are part of our daily life and speaking up when I don’t agree with something. 

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

For me, it’s vital to work in a place like Happy Way—a workplace that recognises that we’re all different but where we’re entitled to the same rights. Somewhere I feel valued, respected and I’m treated fairly. It's my first experience working within a group that’s predominantly women, and that makes me feel empowered and motivated to see how we can create amazing things together.

EMMA – HW CUSTOMER HAPPINESS TEAM

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means women are EQUAL to men, as simple as that. Not only that women should be able to do whatever a man does, but vice versa—a man should also feel equal to a woman and not superior to them just because of a gender difference.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

I had an altercation within a previous workplace where a male customer verbally abused me and threatened to physically harm me. In this circumstance, I stood up for myself and refused service to this customer, demanding they leave. Later, when my male manager learnt how the situation had unfolded, I was made to feel stupid for standing up for myself and told to basically ’toughen up’ and learn to cop these situations on the chin. They then contacted the customer and apologised for my behaviour and gave them the services for free to apologise.

At that point in time, I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed for sticking up for myself and that if I’d had a female superior to take this matter to, maybe the outcome would’ve been different. A woman leader would’ve shown empathy towards the situation and understood how terrifying it can be to be abused by a man as a young female, and the courage it takes to stand up to it. 

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

In trying to switch the narrative and live in a gender-equal world, I would love to change the view that women are trying to take men's jobs and be ‘above’ men. It’s not about one sex being ‘better’ than the other, it’s about us being equal and having equal opportunities. I believe it goes both ways though—if a male wants to do a job that is stereotypically known as a ‘female’ role, then he should also be able to do that job without feeling judged or a ‘lesser’ man.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

I have learnt to be brave and speak up when I know it matters. I’m not afraid to stick up for myself or others, no matter who I have to raise this with. I have learnt the way others react or treat me is more a reflection on them than me, and if they cannot handle what I bring to them, at least I know I have done what’s in the best interest of me.

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

This is super important to me as I have definitely experienced working in previous roles where the management is male dominant. It is extremely hard to break the cycle once this dominance is in place, and women can often be silenced or made to feel stupid about expressing how they feel within the workplace. It’s so important that all employees are treated equally—nowadays I feel we’re realising more and more that we have the right to be respected whilst at work, and we should be able to openly voice our concerns and communicate without feeling judged. 

Happy Way team

CHELSEA – HW VIDEOGRAPHER

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

It means living in a world where gender doesn’t affect opportunities. Gender is irrelevant in terms of the workplace, parenting and social constructs. 

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

I work in film and when I was a student, I went into a day workshop on lighting techniques for TV drama. The model that was supposed to be used as an example of how to light people cancelled at the last minute. I was the only female in the workshop, and instead of participating in learning the lighting and working with the instructor, I was asked to stand in as the model, being that I was the only girl. So, there I was, stuck sitting on a set far away from the lecturer, where I couldn’t hear what was going on or really learn anything—it was frustrating.

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

That we are just as capable as men in male-dominated industries.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are? 

Working in a male-dominated industry, I chose to not care anymore and just be me.

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

Very important. It creates a harmonious workplace but is also a place for me to learn different points of view. 

ELLY – HW INFLUENCER MARKETING & OFFICE COORDINATOR

What does living in a gender-equal world mean or look like to you?

To me, a gender-equal world means being celebrated no matter who you are. It’s about living in a world where you are not judged or criticised based on your sex.

Can you share a time when you felt a victim of bias, stereotypes or discrimination of some kind? How did you handle/overcome it?

A while ago I dated a guy who was very ‘men make money, men provide, men are greater’, etc etc. At the start, I didn’t think much of it and let it go. Then, as time went on it got worse—I wasn’t allowed to pay for anything, I was told I should be spoilt, and all I felt was guilt as I like to be able to pay my way as to me it shows my independence.

One night during dinner, we got into a heated argument. I was excited and sharing how proud I was of two of my best friends for reaching their goals as police officers. My excitement was very short-lived as he cut me off and went on to say that women should not be in the police force as they simply ‘are not strong enough’. That really pissed me off—what a silly comment! Women are more than strong enough, yet we’re made to feel weak based on this stereotypical idea that men are bigger, therefore they’re stronger.   

If you could change how women are viewed stereotypically, what is the one bias you would change?

There are a few things, but I honestly believe that these stereotypes are slowly changing. Women are more confident to stand up for themselves. Women are out there smashing their goals and doing it for themselves no matter what people say—this is powerful and inspiring to see. Although there is still some way to go—I feel like we’re still somewhat expected to sit and smile and accept what happens. This needs to change. If we are not happy with something we shouldn’t have to smile through it.

How did you break the bias on women to discover who you really are?

By standing up for myself. By saying how I feel and not being ashamed for being who I truly am. This should never be discounted and we should always be proud of ourselves.

How important is it for you to be a part of a workplace that celebrates and values people's differences and also cares about inclusivity?

It is extremely important. Women should be celebrated for their achievements and also supported throughout their life—no matter their gender. 

Happy Way International Women's Day

So, what are the Happy Way girls making for their International Women’s Day celebrations? Check out their favourite recipes below.

MALISSA
CHARLOTTE
OLIVIA
STACEY
NATALIA 
EMMA
CHELSEA
ELLY
 
Happy International Women's Day!

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