When Sociologist Associate Professor Kris Natalier started at university in the ’90s, she wasn’t a feminist. But it all changed after she met a group of feminist law students who were outraged by the sexism they witnessed and experienced within the school and in the workforce.
“We did a bunch of things that mildly troubled our conservative lecturers and peeved the private school debating lads surrounding us, and we marched. We marched on International Women’s Day. Those marches felt heady and hopeful for someone who had always tried to do the right and quiet thing,” she says.
Now with a daughter of her own, Associate Professor Natalier says it is bittersweet to see the next generation pick up the baton to continue fighting for change.
“Thirty years later, my daughter Lu was with me on an abortion law reform march organised by, among others, some of the amazing women I work with at Flinders in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences – Associate Professor Barbara Baird, Associate Professor Cath Kevin and Dr Prue Flowers. Lu wore overalls and carried exactly the same purple Make Abortion Legal circle sign. She chanted and felt heady and hopeful.
“When I saw my daughter with that sign, I was simultaneously jolted by the continuity of the claims we make and thankful that people continue to force the change that is needed. For me, IWD serves that same purpose: a reminder that gendered oppression has not ended. The need to resist it, dismantle it and build something new is a continuing, inter-generational commitment.”
Hayley Anderson, Senior Research Support Officer with the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work loves that International Women’s Day is designated to celebrate and reflect how far society has come towards gender equality, but she acknowledges that this doesn’t mean we can take our foot off the accelerator.
“It’s a day to be grateful for all the incredible individuals and organisations taking action for equality and helping us forge ahead to create a more inclusive world. Equally, it is a day to look to the future, to set new goals, so we can continue working together and take collective action to break the bias.”
Hayley says she surrounds herself with inspiring women, especially her teenage daughter, Taylor.
“My daughter Taylor inspires me every day. Not only is she a passionate advocate for younger people’s mental health, particularly in the area of eating disorders, but she also fights tooth and nail to challenge gender stereotypes in her high school environment and speaks up about the culture of toxic masculinity.”