girls can't surf

Our HR Partners team who are focused on the Executive and Senior market have found ourselves having some great conversations as the year unfolds and it's evident our business and HR leaders are operating in an increasingly aware space. The importance of a genuine and robust commitment to diversity and inclusion remains critical to sustainable success - as much as it is also just the right thing to do. 

I find it encouraging that year-on-year, International Women’s Day becomes more visible, more celebrated, and stories increasingly inspiring, and believe it provides some hope and evidence that we are making progress. 
With that in mind, it seemed a great moment to share a bit of a passion piece from the General Manager of NSW, Stephanie Patoka.

girls can’t surf.

I was sitting eating dinner with my family on Monday night, when my 8-year-old son innocently asked me: 

‘Mum, why do we have an International Women’s Day? Why don’t we have an International Boys Day every year too?’

Sitting next to him was my 10-year-old daughter who sat straight up in her chair and responded: 

‘Because, women are not treated equally yet. They are paid less than boys, don’t get the same jobs as boys, and are treated differently just because they are girls. And that’s not fair!’

She’d just been to see the rocking doco the night before with her Dad, ‘Girls Can’t Surf’ by Christopher Nelius, about women's fight for equality in the surfing industry. The amazing Layne Beachley was there doing a Q&A afterward as well. She was pretty awe-struck.

At home that night after the film, I asked her, ‘how did that film make you feel babe?’ 

I could see her emotions were palpable. She’s an avid surfer herself and goes out most mornings with her superstar Dad. She can be pretty fearless out on the water.

She very thoughtfully said:  

Mum, those women had to put up with such rubbish from men. It was so unfair. They wanted them to be just like barbie dolls in bikinis. I don’t think I would be out on those waves surfing every morning now if it wasn’t for them. I feel really motivated to do my best. To keep breaking those boundaries!’  (Deep breath from me….Wowzers)

So, I am going to echo the many marvelous calls to action for IWD and just say this; if you have a voice, and are in a position to make a difference, speak up and ask the questions. Think of all the women and children around the world that deserve to be treated equally. Act with your everyday decisions. Educate. Have the conversation. Keep on breaking down those barriers. Be gritty. Be witty. Be fearless. 

If my 10-year-old daughter gets it, then surely we can too.


#girlscantsurf #iwd #choosetochallenge #genderequality

about the author

Stephanie Patoka - General Manager

Stephanie has a depth of knowledge and expertise in the recruitment and selection of HR professionals built over more than a decade of experience within Australia and abroad. She recruits in the senior HR interim market alongside Sophie Tompsett.

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