“They did not know it was impossible so they did it.”― Mark Twain, writer and entrepreneur
In the work to progress gender equality, it is necessary to focus on the areas that we need to challenge, champion and change. Equally important but less often recognised, is the need to celebrate the people, events and industries that are debunking stereotypes and making history.
Here are three recent highlights to celebrate:
Women and girls breaking barriers: At just 16 years old, Hong Kong football star Karri Chan was offered a place with the Manchester City women’s under-19 team in one of the highest profile transfers in the city’s history. In Japan, Sanae Takaichi is running for Prime Minister; if she wins, she will become the first female Prime Minister in the country that has low female representation in leadership positions as well as a wide gender pay gap. Encouraging women and girls to break stereotypes and enter into spheres of influence is why TWF supports initiatives like the SportCHAT! Programme with Inspiring Sports Foundation and runs a suite of programmes to support the advancement of more women into leadership positions.
Women’s rights are in fashion: New York’s Fashion Week featured a very different show at the Museum of Modern Art: sexual violence survivors. Organised by civil rights organisation, Rise, high profile survivors like Chanel Miller, Kelly Marie Tran and Terry Crews walked the runway to confront the pejorative question often asked of survivors ‘What were you wearing?’ and overturn the stigma associated with sexual assault. TWF applauds the creative way to raise awareness around critical issues and strive to do the same through our groundbreaking campaigns such as #MakePeopleCount and #MyRealCareerLine.
Venice Film Festival’s focus on women’s stories: While the film industry remains dominated by men, it is encouraging to see female-focused films recognised at the Venice Film festival highlighting nuanced female stories including “Spencer”, “Parallel Mothers”, “The Lost Daughter” and “Happening” which focus on complex themes like conflicted womanhood, complicated friendships and unwanted pregnancy. With 3 of the 5 director’s awards going to women: Audrey Diwan, Jane Campion and Maggie Gyllenhaal, we are hopeful this spotlight on women’s experiences continues. Our own documentary, She Objects, similarly sought to raise awareness through storytelling around a critical issue affecting women and girls: gender stereotyping in the media.
At TWF, we are inspired by people and events like these that are breaking new ground and creating space for the contributions and experiences of women and girls. This is precisely the innovative spirit we look to incorporate into our own programmes, research and advocacy. Together, let’s break new ground and try new ways of advancing gender equality in Hong Kong and beyond.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.