I believe you. Those three words, repeated again and again, formed part of a not-so-quiet online revolution. As #MeToo gave women permission to stand up and speak the truth of their experience, this simple response validated their choice. Guiding those who felt lost when confronted with a loved one describing crimes committed against them, I believe you was a first-response script that anyone could learn. To believe women remains a radical act.
For victims of sexual assault, a fear that they won’t be believed is often chief among the reasons they don’t disclose. In the past, women who complained of legitimate health issues were labelled hysterical and even today, sufferers of endometriosis are still told they’re exaggerating their pain. Women who challenge the gender pay gap are too regularly shut down and told it doesn’t exist. Those who raise childcare or paid parental leave or family violence in public debate, are forced to take the “niche” conversation about “women’s issues” elsewhere.
Women who object to being mansplained, talked over, ignored, dismissed, or told to take the minutes or pour the tea, to sit down, be quiet, be nice and decorative, to not make this about gender all the time, are labelled difficult and disingenuous. Their complaints are invalidated for the modest crime of being a woman.
But something is changing. #MeToo has brought new energy to the women’s movement. Importantly, that energy is not about privileged, rich and predominately white women wearing expensive black gowns to the Oscars. Nor was it borne of a hashtag appropriated by an actress. It was instigated years earlier by a black woman whose name nobody knew and whose work is only now being recognised. That woman, Tarana Burke, knew that the movement had to be about women working in far less sexy industries and with far fewer zeroes on their pay cheques. It is about ending sexual assault and harassment, yes, but it is also bigger than that. This is about ending systemic discrimination that says women are still the second sex and that women will always be second best.
“Our challenge now is to challenge the unequal world we inhabit. To do so with impact, we must first unpack and unfold, breakdown and breakthrough.”
Women have once again found a public voice and this time are using it to reveal the previously untold stories that were once a source of shame. By relinquishing that shame, accepting that we are not at fault and not to blame, we are reborn. Speaking out gives us the courage to speak up. And by telling story, after story, after story we see and understand more than we once did. We have come to see and understand that these stories all have something in common. They are the story of being a woman.
Our challenge now is to challenge the unequal world we inhabit. To do so with impact, we must first unpack and unfold, breakdown and breakthrough. This is always difficult, often uncomfortable and sometimes painful work. It is a prerequisite before this gendered world can be remade again: fairer, better and more inclusive.
And that’s what Future Women is all about.
We are not here to empower you. You already have immense power. We are simply here to hold a space for it, to nurture it, to build on it and to those of you for whom power still feels elusive, reveal it.
Here in Australia and across the world women are pouring into universities. They are starting businesses and entering boardrooms. They are having children, early and late, with or without partners. Women are holding one another’s hand, defying ingrained stereotypes that say we won’t have each others’ backs. And with each passing day women are breaking new ground in the battle for equality.
As we’ve evolved so has our understanding of power. When women and power are addressed in the same sentence there is still a level of condescension at play. Whether it’s an advertisement or an article, women are so often treated as individuals who can’t handle the working week without a glass of sauvignon blanc and a block of Lindt. They are treated as if they’re still struggling with the coexistence of a professional and personal life, still far from man’s equal.
This is a space for men as well. For men who want to learn, men who are willing to fall silent and simply listen, for men who realise that gender equality doesn’t just benefit women but everyone. Shifting a historical and deeply ingrained power imbalance requires women to fight and seize that power – and it also requires men to relinquish some of it. The men who are able to recognise this without fear and defensiveness, anger or derision, who want to be part of building a fairer and better world, are absolutely our allies and friends. We want you on board.
“We are not here to empower you. You already have immense power. We are simply here to hold a space for it, to nurture it, to build on it and to those of you for whom power still feels elusive, reveal it.”
While building this company, the only assumption we make of you is your ambition for personal and professional success. We don’t care about your age, your income or your education. Whether you’re a change agent, a student, a working mother, or a stay-at-home mother, we know you are ambitious and this is what we are here to serve. To help you get to where you need to be, faster.
Future Women will flood you with ideas to help you improve your life and broaden your horizons. While we speak to you as an individual, however, our ethos is firmly grounded in the collective. We want to help you better understand the women around you, the difference and divergent and intersectional struggles that they face. That’s why we’ll be covering topics broader than work alone, with content falling under five key pillars of Leadership, Luxury, Wealth, Wellness and Relationships.
From independent, quality journalism to engaging events and meaningful networking, serving your ambition drives our day. Future Women is not a media company or an event business. Future Women goes beyond a content model. It is an identity, a movement. A trusted source and network to lean on. Good mentors are tough to find, and Future Women intends to be that smart, authoritative source who leaves you informed and motivated after every interaction. Time to get acquainted.
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