To celebrate a International Women’s Day this past week I have had the privilege to chat to some great kiwi women whom I admire and ask them what would be their number one wish for change.
For me change is very important for brain health as it is what motivates us. The percentage of Women that have Alzheimer’s is so much higher than men which has lead me on a journey to why this is and ties in beautifully with International Women’s Day 2017.
Jacqui Ansin – Business Owner of Lily and Louis PR
What I admire about Jacqui
Her incredible fashion sense hit me when I first met Jacqui on our first day of school aged 5 , she had the best pair of shoes ever! Red patent leather from what I can recall and to this day she is the Imelda Marcos of shoes! As long as I have known her she has been a dynamo at whatever she puts her hand to, always with a unique sense of style. Jacqui launched Lily & Louis six years ago with an innovative approach to PR which has lead to exciting growth with top brands both locally and internationally. But for me, more than her business success is her ability to make everyone feel special, even when she is going a million miles an hour. Also busy running a picture perfect home and step mum to two super smart and incredible young women, Jacqui simply makes time for people which can be rare in a very busy world. Always looking immaculate and beautiful, you want to hate her but she is just so damn lovely and positive!
Jacqui, if you could have one wish to make a change for women in business what would it be?
The issue of pay parity is long overdue. New Zealand is the first country in the world to give women the vote, so it’s disappointing that we haven’t caught up with pay parity. There is no rational argument for women getting paid less than men for the same job, with the same skills and experience. I’d also like to see more women in senior leadership and directorship roles. Women are versatile, multi layered and can multitask to hell and back, which can only lead to better commercial and social outcomes. The more we empower women in the workplace, the further we prosper as a country.
Katrina Horton – Cook & Food Blogger
What I admire about Katrina
I am in full admiration of Katrina who chucked in a well paid job as a media professional in the corporate world to follow a simpler life and her love of cooking. What started off as food blog has turned into a more personal approach about thoughts on life, health and her 2 gorgeous children, Amelia age 13 and Ollie age 11. Her food blog Katrina Horton Food is a brilliant and an entertaining read that always makes me smile. I love that she really shares and is open about her trials and tribulations with family that ties back to her cooking. Her recipes are nurturing, easy to follow and taste amazing, but more importantly she makes it honest & real.
Katrina, if you could have one wish to make a change for women who cook for a job, what would it be?
STATUS! Why is it that every cooking show on TV seems to have a male presenter and predominantly male judges? The only exception are baking competitions, but that’s because baking is clearly “women’s work”. It seems that’s because successful male chefs have so much more prestige than female cooks (because women are more often than not referred to as cooks). Gordon Ramsay is somehow better than Nigella Lawson because he’s a chef. Nigella, on the other hand, is described by her own publishers as a food writer and “home cook”. She may not work in restaurants, her volume of work is easily as influential as Gordon Ramsay’s, but somehow the word chef denotes a higher status. So my wish would be for female chefs, food writers and cooks to be afforded the same status as their male counterparts. And more television airtime.
What I admire about Aja
A dynamic mother of 4 beautiful and very busy children, 1 year old Aria, 3 year old Lilyvon, 6 year old Hendrix and 13 year old Brooklyn. This beautiful soul is an extremely talented artist that hand-makes unique pieces of stunning crystal jewellery and objects. She also lends her innate sense of style to interior design concepts for her husband’s property business . I have always admired Aja on her ability to juggle family – she is often seen carrying a child on each hip while whipping up healthy meals for her tribe, amongst other things. Not forgetting the fact that she also manages to keep her body in top top shape with yoga and squeezes in a mediation most mornings. Don’t worry, she has her days too, but somehow manages to deal with her crazy busy life with humour and empathy for others.
Aja – if you could have one wish to make a change for your daughters future what would it be?
The change I would love to make would be to change the preconceived ideas around beauty and self worth currently set by society, these ideas that disempower and program our girls into thinking they’re merely sexual objects – being a model I myself have fallen victim to these ‘ideas.’ In this current world women and girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; nor their power or self determination, that their bodies are not their own. I want my little girls to always know that their body, spirit and minds are their domains. I want my girls to know that their beauty, their value belongs to them. Girls have the right to own themselves and should not be a slave to any preconceived ideas around beauty and self worth currently set by society.
Dana Louise Stewart – Yoga Instructor
What I admire about Dana
After studying for her BSc and PG Dip in environmental Management Dana felt so despondent with the boring jobs on offer she decided to go on the search for inner peace. I love that she followed her dream, not society! A chance meeting with a Yogi on the streets of Kensington in London was the beginning of a very beautiful, albeit challenging journey into Yoga for her. That was 22 years ago now. Dana has been teaching for 10 years both adults and kids classes and I am a huge fan of her classes at Next Generation. She is also working on an online programme due to launch soon that will be based on breathing (watch this space – http://www.danalouisestewart.com.) She has two beautiful daughters, Osheana who is 16, her name means for those on whom the sky showers flowers and then there is Molly-Love who is 13, full of life and sparks her family entertainment. I adore Dana’s philosophy on life which is to just be yourself, follow your heart and learn to play again, have fun, regardless of what you face.
Dana, if you could have one wish to make a change for women and world peace what would it be?
If there was one wish I could make significant change for women and world peace it would be for people to understand how to breathe properly! It really is the most amazing thing that would solve so many of our issues. The entire Hatha yoga teachings were based on what is happening to the breath. It may sound random but we really need to breathe less! That is when the magic happens. That is when things like depression, anxiety, stress, over eating are no longer and it’s also the top anti ageing secret!
Jasmin Devereux Barnes – student
What I admire about Jasmin
This beautiful young women inside and out is my soul daughter. A master of disguise she has the ability to transform herself through her wondrous styling and talent for applying makeup. A brilliant writer she has taught me a lot and is my sounding board for my blog and my editor. The captivating photos that you see on Beautiful Mind are taken by Jasmin – lucky me having an in house photographer! I admire her for so many things but most off all her kindness and caring for her family and friends. Her little sister India calls her mama Jazzy and her brother Sam adores her as she is the most loving big sister that is forever there for him. She has strong opinions which I don’t always agree on but I love the fact she has them, especially when it comes to women and empowerment. I know I am biased but this is a woman of our future.
Jasmin, if you could have one wish to make a change for women of your generation what would it be?
If there was one wish I could make for women and world peace, it would be to have equal rights for women. Coming from the millennial generation, I see us all as self-empowering individuals who are determined to fix what are seen as problems in the world. Most millennials contribute to society, correct inequalities and are leaders within our own groups and communities. Because of that, it enables women in the millennial generation, to have a voice and the power to change problems. Being a woman, I believe that we have the ability to change the old fashioned ideal of unequal rights for men and women, and that we can all come together to change the gender discrimination that is affecting women globally.
I am so blessed to call all these women my friends & sisters. I am thankful for their opinions and what they contribute to my life and to society. I am also lucky to have so many other female friends that make such a difference to our world and if I had more days in the week I would be featuring them too.
The person who I admire the most is my mother – Colyn Devereux Kay, the inspiration behind my blog. I miss her everyday as my mentor, mother, business partner and best friend. However through my fumbled writings I have found peace and happiness. Knowing that if I am helping even just one person with Alzheimers prevention and wellbeing, or a family that is dealing with it, makes sharing my journey with my darling mother a joyful one .
For International Women’s Day 2017, please #BeBoldForChange
Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world.