International Women’s Day Breakfast

By Angelia Van Le

This piece was written as part of the Fashion Writing Program 2019

Today is International Women’s Day and I’m going to start by celebrating my own achievements. I think as women sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit and that can often lead to feelings of insecurity and not being able to unleash our limitless potential. Throughout my life I have had to deal with inequality and bias whether it was based on my ethnicity, the way I look or the fact that I am a woman. Today I stand strong as a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend and dog mum, living my dreams and working as a Fashion Writer at Australia’s largest fashion event, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

I am so humbled and grateful to be in this position but I also know that it took a lot of action on my part to get here and let me tell you, the hustle is real! The 2019 International Women’s Day campaign theme #BalanceforBetter begs the question, how can we help forge a more gender-balanced world? It’s not an easy question to answer and today I’ve been invited to the International Women's Day Breakfast presented by marie claire to witness a panel of dynamic and inspiring speakers who will no doubt provide some thought provoking conversation over a nice cup of coffee and mini croissants. 


The 2019 International Women's Day Breakfast held at ZINC, Federation Square


The event was held at the elegant ZINC venue at Federation Square with spectacular views of the Yarra River and city skyline. Hosted by marie claire Editor Nicky Briger, the morning kicked off with a video showcasing the world’s most inspirational women leading change, including Angelina Jolie, Jacinda Ardern and our own Julie Bishop. Nicky Briger continued by releasing recent research figures conducted by marie claire that compared answers to 10 years ago and the findings were that 80% of women are now more satisfied with their jobs and women are 60% more likely to call out sexual harassment in the workplace thanks to the #metoo and #timesup movement. marie claire also asked their readers what would make them more happy at work and according to Briger they all said “Show me the Money!!”

The empowering thought-leaders were introduced one by one and first up was Australian Designer Camilla Franks who is known for her vibrant kaftans but who we also know has been battling with breast cancer after she announced it publicly in May last year. Franks came across as the eternal optimist starting off by saying how grateful she was for the life she’s living and how “right now it’s an incredible time to be a woman.” She also spoke of her struggles describing it as, “it’s been one crazy, colourful, slightly hectic and terrifying at times, roller-coaster ride. I’ve seen so many hurdles and sometimes I’ve flown straight over them and sometimes I’ve face planted straight into them and that’s all part and parcel with running a business.” Speaking on what gets her through the challenges Franks went on to say that it’s her “screw it, let’s do it attitude,” that I’m now so compelled to adopt in my daily life and may even steal as a quote on my LinkedIn bio.


Australian Actress and Producer Miranda Tapsell at the 2019 International Women's Day Breakfast


Endearing Australian Actress and Producer Miranda Tapsell surprised us with a refreshing metaphor in reference to how she chooses her battles and likened it to a crocodile, “They’re descendants of dinosaurs so they look at a prey and they go, that’s too small, that’s not worth my energy and then they see a big buffalo and go woah! That is the ticket!” To the delight of audiences the conversation continued in its sincerity, with Tapsell not afraid to pick up on taboo subjects like it’s not a compliment to say “You’re pretty for an Aboriginal woman,” which we also learnt was the title of her new podcast. 

One of the most exciting and controversial speakers was Politician Julia Banks who sensationally quit the Liberal party after the leadership spill last year citing bullying and intimidation. She talked us through the struggles of her 2 year stint in parliament but honestly we were all waiting for her to spill the tea on Scott Morrison which she did but I’ll leave those details to the political journos who no doubt would have picked up the story.


Julia Banks with marie clare editor Nicky Briger at the 2019 International Women's Day Breakfast


The key takeaway from the discussion is that there is a strong movement for cultural change for women’s rights however women don’t rule the world just yet and there is still work to be done. Inspired by these empowering thoughts and panel discussions Nicky Briger brought all the speakers up on stage together and asked one final question, “What do you want to see change for women in the next 10 years?” and without further ado Camilla Franks summed it all in one breath, “Believe in your vision and stay true to your path.”

This piece was written as part of the Fashion Writing Program 2019

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