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#BreakTheBias International Womens Day 2022

Tuesday 8th March 2022 is International Womens Day, this year with a focus on the theme of #BreakTheBias. This IWD campaign encourages us all to imagine a gender equal world, one free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Sounds simple, right? But we've still got a long way to go.

Whilst we are empassioned about celebrating womens achievements, sexuality, abilities and overall amazingness, unfortunately those values are not always celebrated and reflected in society as a whole. It can be very challenging and disheartening to experience bias simply because you are, or identify as, a woman.

We have always held a safe space and created community for women to be treated equally and worshipped for the amazing creatures that they are. If we can maintain an open dialogue where women are comfortable to express their experiences, thoughts and feelings, we can hope to create awareness of the difficulties women face, and through that awareness - change.

In the week leading up to International Womens Day, we are profiling a cross section of real women from all different age groups and walks of life about their experiences with bias or discrimination, particularly regarding their appearance and sexual expression. Each woman was photographed in their 'regular' every day outfit, and in a lingerie outfit to demonstrate that a woman can express herself sexually and dress however she likes... at the same time as being respected, intelligent, professional and a range of other qualities - the two are not mutually exclusive.

Profiles will be added daily until Tuesday 8th March (International Womens Day). Check back as we continue to update!

Jacqui W, 27

Psychotherapy student + aspiring sex, love & relationship coach

1. What does it mean to you to be a woman?
To me, being a woman is to be many things at once. Soft yet strong, fearless and wise, a leader as well as a nurturer. As women, we have the potential to be wild, fiery, and passionate - as well as gentle and soothing. A woman can and should be everything she wants to be. Women are divine and magical - and we absolutely should not forget it!

2. What does breaking the bias around sexuality mean to you?
For me, it's about challenging the way we judge or think about people according to how they express their sexuality. Sexuality is a beautiful, empowering, fluid thing - and I want to work towards a world in which all expressions of it are celebrated, however you identify.

3. What do you want for all women, in 2022 and beyond?
I want anybody who identifies as a woman to feel safe and comfortable expressing their sexuality. I want all women to love their bodies and their minds, and to put themselves first. Life is too short to worry about what others will think of you; liberate yourself and empower others in the process.

bianca b, 29

Senior Copywriter

1. Have you ever changed the way you dress in order to perceived differently?

I've definitely done a blazer and heels moment at work in an effort to be taken more seriously. Not that I don't enjoy that look sometimes, but only when I'm in the mood. I've found that as a younger woman, despite being educated in my field and having years of experience, it can be a struggle sometimes to even get eye contact from clients or peers. So if your outfit helps you get noticed, why the hell not use that to your advantage.

2. Do you believe there is bias towards women - particularly in the workplace or a professional environment?
I feel so strongly about this topic I don't even know where to begin! I once sent an email to the CEO of a former employer with the subject line: Gender pay inequality in the workplace. I got a reply pretty quickly to that. But in general, I've experienced many, many situations in almost every job I've ever had where I've been treated differently because of my gender. I don't know many women who haven't had at least one experience like that.

3. What differences do you observe (if any) between the way men and women are allowed to express their sexuality and the perception of them when they do.
I tend to pay less and less attention to this as I get older, mostly because I'm so tired of worrying about other people's perceptions. But of course, there's a difference between how men and women are "allowed" to express their sexuality. I think the madonna/whore complex still stands very very true. I think about this question mostly in the context of unlearning my own biases so that I can better express and explore my own sexuality. 

4. What does breaking the bias mean to you?
Maybe I'm part of the last generation who grew up seeing gender in such a binary way so I hope by the time I'm old this question doesn't even exist. But in the meantime, I guess it's just doing whatever the hell you want, because you can. Feeling yourself and doing your thing even as your body, mind and values change throughout your life and not taking things so seriously.

Justine P

Professional hairdresser and makeup artist
Owner of Elite Hair and Makeup Academy

1. Have you ever changed the way you dress in order to perceived differently?
Age has no boundaries to clothes makeup or lingerie. My style goes from androgynous to feminine, with the ability to wear heels every day.

3. What do you want for all women, in 2022 and beyond?
All women should feel confident in their own skin and not let age define who they are.

Marina W, 45

CEO EA

What does it mean to you to be a woman?
Own yourself! Be confident and love who you are.

Have you ever changed the way you dress in order to be perceived differently?
YES! 100% Especially in the workforce of the white collard sector. You can’t express your self how you want it’s very conservative.

What do you want for all women, in 2022 and beyond?
To embrace with confidence who they are; physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Michelle W, 44

Associate banker/mother of 2 boys

What does it mean to you to be a woman?
I love being a woman, I don’t conform in what society thinks I should be doing. I love women playing AFL. I wish I had more equality growing up.

What differences do you observe (if any) between the way men and women are allowed to express their sexuality and the perception of them when they do.
If women sleep with heaps of men they are a slut but men are a stud. I applaud women who are strong and own their sexuality. You become more confident with age and don't care what people think. You need to do what you feel comfortable with and not be insecure. I teach my boys to respect themselves and women and treat them like gold.

What do you want for women 2022?
To make their own choice and choose your lifestyle. You can have it all. Make time for your self and for your relationship. It’s not all about your kids and work.

International Women's Day (IWD) provides an important opportunity to fundraise for female-focused charities, help raise their visibility, and amplify their awareness raising efforts.

Help forge women's equality by donating to a registered charity or nonprofit that works for the advancement of women and girls.

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