International Women’s Day

Miriam Hechtman recaps the International Women’s Day fundraiser.


IMG_0346Miriam Hechtman

Happy International Women’s Day! Last night I hosted an event to honour IWD and raise money for the Pathways Foundation. It was an incredible evening. Karima Hinterleitner led us into a heartful meditation and brought the room into a sacred space. We then listened intently to Maree Lipschitz talk about the rites of passage for women and the importance of honouring these milestones in life. Ngaiire then swept us away with her soulful songs and sharing from her heart. And then the gorgeous belly dancer Kara got us moving and grooving to farewell the night.

I spoke briefly at the beginning of the night and want to share with you part of my speech. I hope you are having a wonderful IWD and that you are taking a little time out to honour and celebrate yourself and the women around you.

Hello women,

I have a confession to make. I’m coming out tonight, not in an Ellen or Jodie Foster kind of way. The truth dear ladies, is that I’m a feminist. I think I’ve been a little shy about revealing this in years’ past because of the stigma I thought was associated with being a feminist. ‘Well I’m not a hard core feminist’ I would tell friends, somehow thinking there was a difference in principle between hardcore feminists and moderate ones. I had convinced myself that you couldn’t be a feminist and a sacred goddess at the same time, well at least not publicly. And could you be a house wife and have your husband the breadwinner and still call yourself a feminist?  Is it okay to decide not to work while you are bringing up your kids? If I wear pretty dresses and have long hair am I still a feminist? What is a feminist anyway?

2012 and events earlier this year ignited in me my long held beliefs about feminism. From ‘Destroying the Joint’ with 25,000 other women against Allan Jones’ sexist comments about prominent Australian women, to international outrage and horror in response to the gang rape and murder of a young woman in India, to the brave story of Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out against the militants and promoting education for girls, to dancing with women and men all over the world to end violence against women on Valentine’s day this year – I now understand feminism in a whole new light – it’s not just about me, or my workplace, or my community, my life. Feminism is about equal rights for women and it’s about standing up for women, dancing for women – wherever they are in the world and saying ‘no’ this is not acceptable. Or as I say to my two year old daughter when she does something unsafe – ‘absolutely no!’.

Mothering a two year old daughter has also sparked my feelings about women in the world and what I hope for her on her own journey as a woman. I must teach her and I must speak up to men and women around me.

So dear ladies, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I hope you have heard me.

Happy IWD x