International Women’s Day is an opportunity for everyone (regardless of gender or gender identity) to stand together and highlight the importance of equal rights for women.
Today is a day to celebrate how far we have come in New Zealand in the last 100 years, with women and men now both sharing many of the same fundamental rights. However, it is also a day to reflect on how far we still have to go.
Women all around the globe are still put into dangerous situations based upon their gender. From domestic violence in the home, to a lack of control over their own reproductive rights. From having no access to education, to being beaten and killed for making their own choices around what clothing (religious or not) that they decide to wear.
Just the other day I saw a reel from a woman who makes ‘safety keychains’ for other women to carry as they walk to their car at night… things like whistles and knuckle dusters all attached to a fluffy pom pom as if to ‘soften the blow’ that women STILL need to resort to things like this just to feel safe alone at night!
As a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape I will never be able to let a day like today go by without a little bit of ‘shouting from the rooftops’! I am not alone in this pain. A pain I carry with me in little ways every day. Sometimes I’m just a little less confident than normal after brushing over a scar while getting dressed, other days I am ruined and cannot move from my bed as memories relentlessly run through my mind.
I am not alone in this. According to Statistics NZ, 1 in 5 NZ women report having been assaulted sexually, that's 20% of women in our beautiful country. Of those crimes, only 10% are reported to the authorities and of those reported cases only 10% will result in a conviction. This is devastating.
Report a robbery, and you’re reporting a crime.
Report drink driving, and you’re reporting a crime.
Report a sexual assault however, and you're reporting an ‘alleged’ crime.
Language is important and our legal system fails us. It sets us up to further support our belief that ‘no one will believe us’ and it sets our abusers up to believe their chances of not being held accountable are very high, making their risk factor very low.
International Women's Day is an opportunity to remember that gender equality is a human rights issue and not a rebellion. This is not a women’s issue. We need to stand together with empathy and intelligence and work on what little things each of us can do to promote change in our society.
Here at Trinity we allow our staff to work around their families, we have a room set up in the office for children to have a safe space at work with mum or dad if childcare has fallen through. We doubled our domestic violence leave. We pay our women and men on an equal pay scale and have both women and men at each level of the company, including senior management.
We are currently paying and encouraging multiple female staff members to study and upskill. We have also provided opportunities to women from different cultural backgrounds including a number who have not always called NZ home.
We are members of the Women's Empowerment Principles program which has a 7 principle system in order to advance gender equality in the community as well as our workplaces.
As a female business owner, I believe I have a duty to help build up and provide opportunities and understanding for other women in my community. As a board member for UN Women Aotearoa NZ, I feel I have a duty to help educate and campaign for change and understanding.
I am incredibly proud of the work we do and I would love to challenge you to check out the links provided in this blog and see what fire that ignites in you.
- Cassandra Knox, Trinity's Managing Director and Founder