What does International Women’s Day mean to you? International Women’s Day to me means a day for all people to acknowledge
and advocate for the rights of women. I love to think about the
achievements of women, the wonderful women who have paved the way for our rights and visibility. There is still so much regarding women’s equity that needs to be addressed, and it starts with the simple truth that we are all equal. While I love to draw attention to the beautiful women in my circle who uplift me in times where I do feel the unfair bias against us; I also like to take time to acknowledge the strong allies who want nothing more than to advance the women around them. I think about the people in my life who LOVE women and do what they can to seek our inclusion.

What stigmas or adversities have you experienced in your career, industry, or in life, that you would like to see dismantled? Overall, I’d have to say it’s the notion of being overlooked and/or disregarded because of the false predisposition some people have that women aren’t as intellectual, strong or capable as men.
Being a young female in an industry where there are a lot of male photographers, or older men working in the tech/operations and production side; this stigma often makes you feel undermined or not taken seriously. Despite my experience and education, I can still be challenged because of my appearance. I find this happens often in day-to-day life too, not by all men of course, but I would love to see these unfair stigmas dismantled.

What personal or career advice have you received that’s been particularly valuable to you? There was a piece of advice given to me by a beautiful teacher I had in primary school, Mrs Stafford. She said 'It’s impossible to please everyone, and you shouldn’t care what people think'. I feel this is valuable advice within my career too. The time I feel most successful is when I’m completely true to myself within my work and practice, and not trying to bend to something that doesn’t feel genuine.

What is the action or decision you’ve made that you're most proud of?
I come from quite a large, traditional family where there are expectations of women to follow a certain path. The decision I’m most proud of is that I decided to put my career ahead of patriarchal norms that I knew weren’t for me. There weren’t many women that went on to tertiary education in my family, and I’d be dishonest if I said I didn’t feel the judgement of people who didn’t understand the decisions I was making to get to where I am. I’m
so lucky that I now run my own business after many years of hard work, I feel quite proud of the dream job I have.

How can women better empower each other to succeed? We can empower women by simply supporting women. We need to demonstrate empathy, being present to our friends and colleagues, family members and ask what we can do if we see a woman struggling or needing a confidence boost.
We need to actively challenge misogyny when we hear it, calling it out in a manner that will make the other person understand what they’re saying is not acceptable and how it takes us further away from equality. I know it’s easier said than done, but we are powerful when we stick together.

We can amplify women’s voices by listening, engaging, sharing resources, and simply reminding each other that success comes from a place of passion and
hunger; not gender.

Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the workplace is so important? It just is. The contribution of diverse members to my workplace has enriched my life in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, as I get to work with people from all walks of life. Having such diverse people around you makes life that much fuller.

There’s a quote by a beautiful poet Alok Vaid-Menon who says, ‘it’s not comprehension, it’s compassion.’ I feel the more people we include in
our workplace, the more we learn and appreciate how far humanity stretches beyond our small circle. We just need to demonstrate compassion and open arms for everyone’s inclusion without making assumptions based on gender.

What is one small act each of us can do that supports the IWD 2023 theme #EmbraceEquity? Equity is how we enable equality to happen. For example, equality is to provide working conditions that are the same for everyone. Equity is ensuring there are actual processes in place so that everyone has the same, equal chance of success as the next person. Embracing equity is about acknowledging the needs of the diverse community that you work in
and ensuring they have access to equality.

So, one small act is really taking the time to ask questions and become informed of people around you and their needs. Do they have the same access to opportunities as you? Do you know of someone in your workplace that is struggling, or may not have an equitable chance of achieving something as you / your colleague? If not, how can you help? A small act is just communicating with people around you and letting them know if they need support, you are more than willing to help.

If you could have dinner with an inspirational woman, dead or alive, who would they be and why Raffaela Carrà.
Raffaela was often referred to as Italy’s “best loved woman.” She was not only renowned for her immense talent as a singer and entertainer in the 70s, but as feminist icon and proud LGBTQIA+ ally. When I got a little older, I would watch interviews of her and study her lyrics which encouraged women to be strong and
take control.
She also gave a LOT of sass when prompted by the odd male television host to answer senseless or misogynistic questions! She did not tolerate being treated anything less than the amazing person she was. Her performances and what she wore were considered extremely controversial at the time, but her message was always to empower women and she did just that. I would just love to sit with her over a plate of pasta and ask her how she came to be so fearless and brilliant.

Stephanie wears the Isobel Organic Cotton Cashmere Knit Tank and Sophia Organic Cotton Twill Palazzo Pant in Black.