International Womens Day

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Balance for better.

Flossie, Glassons and Frenchie & Co have teamed up with four inspirational women to discuss International Women’s Day, and this years theme – Balance for Better.

A balanced world is a better world. How can we help forge a more gender-balanced world?

Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

Mahsa, Paige, Claire and Courtney celebrate achievement and call for gender equality each in their own way. Read on to see how they make International Womens Day their day, every day of the year. 

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-bc3735de6375ee85eb4a647e0482ca9f' }}

PAIGE HAREB

PROFESSIONAL SURFER

28 years young from Taranaki, 8th year on the Womens’ World Championship Tour and have been a professional surfer for over 10years.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-c63106d4fdade0d50595221996880bad' }}

MAHSA MOHAGHEGH

FOUNDER OF #SHESHARP

Founder of #SheSharp, a networking platform that works to bridge the gender gap in the technology sector, and Lecturer in Information Technology and Software Engineering at AUT.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-e7115ce63fcadacefa7ed3cdb0652d6e' }}

COURTNEY DURR

FOUNDER OF WORTH WILD

Courtney is the co-founder of Worth Wild, a heart-fuelled business focused on building the relationship you have with yourself and others.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-cd750a6588200e3233150a30d57f8eef' }}

CLAIRE CHITHAM

STORYTELLER

  I’m a storyteller by trade. Sometimes I do that from behind a camera, sometimes in front, sometimes on the stage and sometimes from the page. I don’t have a preference. It just needs to be a damn good story. 

COURTNEY DURR

Courtney Durr is an adventurer, a lover of life, and the founder of Worthwild.

She has a background in sports and personal training but through years in the gym industry, she felt that health was focused too much around diet and exercise and not enough around mental health and self-acceptance. So she quit the “get results, lose weight, tone up” marketing line targeted at women’s insecurities, and directed her energy towards developing a strong, healthy, self-compassionate mind in females through the vehicle of fitness, workshops and community events.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-3d966ceab157a002a6c80605a42ebaa3' }}

HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU ?

I would introduce myself as someone who is high-energy, smiles a lot, loves love and all of the small joys in this world. I am creative and spiritual. I struggle to keep my feet on the ground and my inbox organised. The best way to make me even happier than normal is to feed me burritos and take me on a spontaneous adventure hiking, jumping out of a plane, or jumping in the ocean in the middle of winter. I am an advocate for equality in both gender and minority groups and continue to immerse myself in spaces where I can learn how to use my privilege and skills to improve these areas.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN?

My fave thing about being a wahine is absolutely our power to empathise, nurture, create an actual human inside our bodies, be intuitive, soft and sensual – all whilst being a badass in everyday life! Multi-tasking, running businesses, leading, and doing a bloody good job of it. Women are pretty cool.

WHAT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE CAN DO EVERYDAY TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE?

Gender equality looks like mutual love and respect for one another. It looks like peeling back a lot of the societal conditioning that has been put on both men and women. I believe through self-analysis we can get closer to equality. When we realise that it is our pain, our insecurities, and our egos that are holding us back, only then can we start to break down walls that separate us from them. Only then can we respond with compassion and a mutual desire to make this world a better place. We are all born, we all die — no one, NO ONE, is above or below anyone. If you want a super simple answer, it would be to listen. Listen to others not to respond, but to hear and learn their perspective.


“I’m working to achieve gender balance by teaching women the power of knowing their worth”. – Courtney Durr


HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

I’m working to achieve gender balance by teaching women the power of knowing their worth. Too many women doubt and question themselves in relationships, the workplace, at home. So I take responsibility to do my part in teaching women that they are more than enough as they are, they do not need to be perfect to be loved, and what they’ve got to offer is what the world needs.

ARE THERE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WOMAN YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE?

An assumption about women, but actually also about men, is that vulnerability and the ability to feel and express your emotions is a weakness when in reality it is an absolute WEAPON. Women try to hide their feelings to gain respect and be seen as “strong” but it is our emotions that make us human, they are signposts that direct us and teach us. So, be honest and open!!! Badass wāhine cry too!! Remove that mask, girl.

PAIGE HAREB

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-9c8944b1f83b61d1883891734b96687b' }}

“We (including ourselves!) need to stop underestimating females.” – Paige Hareb


HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU ?

Hey I’m Paige! Haha I think I’m quite reserved, especially talking about my surfing/career so maybe if someone asked what I did or what I am, I would say ’surfer’.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN?

Hmm I grew up in a generation where you would still hear things like “boys are better than girls” or “that’s pretty good..for a girl” so as a sportswoman that fires the competitive nature up in me and still to this day. I absolutely get a kick out of beating a male in any game or sport or even reversing a trailer better than them. It’s so good to see the younger generations not even really knowing about that stigma at all and I think that’s the way it should be, we are all equal.

WHAT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE CAN DO EVERY DAY TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE?

Don’t instantly judge or assume. Literally the other day I was reversing my jetski down the boat ramp in my Toyota hilux and I heard someone say “oh Daddy’s toys”. They just automatically assumed the ski and truck were my Dad’s! In this day and age why can’t a girl have those things? I think people need to be more open to a lot of things in New Zealand and in the World. Just don’t try and force everything into a ‘labeled box’. We are all just humans.

HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

This year is the first year that the Womens World surfing Championship Tour is having equal prize money! Our surfers rep and commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer and WSL (world surf league) CEO Sophie Goldschmidt worked so hard to make that happen. Our next step is to get equal amount of females on tour. At the moment there is 33 men and 17 women. I would love to see every surf event in New Zealand with equal prize money too.

ARE THERE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WOMAN YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE?

We (including ourselves!) need to stop underestimating females. We are all human and just cause we may look or act different, we can all be strong and determined whether it’s physically, mentally or both! Some Females need to stop cutting other females down and other females need to ignore all the stigma’s, rise up and truly be you!

MAHSA MOHAGHEGH

I’m a computer engineer working as a lecturer at AUT University. I am also founder and director of not for profit organisation called She#. I came to New Zealand 11 years ago to study a PhD in artificial intelligence, and ended up staying here permanently.

HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU ?

I’m an outgoing, enthusiastic optimist who is always ready to try something new. I love my family, holidaying, travelling to new places, and taking as many photos as I can.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN?

Being a mother to my 2 ½ year old daughter!

WHAT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE CAN DO EVERY DAY TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE?

Everyone is able to work towards undoing unconscious bias and stereotyping, and also fighting sexism in the workplace. Traditional assumptions about women need to be broken down. There are no such things as “male” or “female” fields of work or areas of interest.

How are you working to achieve gender balance in your industry?

How are you working to achieve gender balance in your industry? I founded a non-profit group in 2014, called She Sharp My goal was to provide the opportunity for young girls to experience what tech is really about, to encourage them to consider a career in this field, and decide on their future based on what they are passionate about, not what others think they should pursue.

ARE THERE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WOMAN YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE?

1. The assumption that women don’t understand technology as well as men. We can be just as competent as men when it comes to tech!

2.The assumption that women are solely responsible for the home and family.

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-872017b8ca49355a8cec1403724dd8b8' }}

“Traditional assumptions about women need to be broken down. There are no such things as “male” or “female” fields of work or areas of interest.

Mahsa Mohaghegh


CLAIRE CHITHAM

HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU ?

When uber drivers ask me what I do, I say I work in film and television. This mostly leads to them getting really passionate or opinionated about their favourite current tv show or film. I like this. Otherwise, it’s circumstantial. If I’m at a party with my brother, then it’s ‘Hi, I’m Claire, Michael’s sister’. When I’m overseas, it’s ‘Hi, I’m Claire, I’m from New Zealand.’ It’s about making a connection I guess. But I consciously try not to identify myself by my career any longer, if I can help it. That’s not what defines me, even though I’m very proud of it. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A WOMAN?

EVERYTHING. I love our emotional voracity, our complexity, our capacity for love and compassion, our elegantly chaotic brains that are wired to consider the past, present and future almost simultaneously and our fluid, fluctuating bodies. I love our inherent pre-disposition towards friendship. I think we cultivate, maintain and rely on them better than men, generally speaking. They feed us, lift us up and keep us afloat. Well, mine do anyway. 

{{ brizy_dc_image_alt uid='wp-e17a86558b32b78ade85a22961671915' }}

WHAT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE CAN DO EVERYDAY TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE?

Ask the question. Of your life, your work, your roles, your assumptions. Ask if you are experiencing inequality because of your gender in any given moment, or inflicting it onto others.  I think the #metoo movement has helped to shed a light on socially common behaviour that is not acceptable, with reference to abuses of power and sexual inequality. And now it’s our responsibility to do the same of any situation with regards to gender –  Am I being treated unfairly right now?  Is what I’m experiencing a result of gender bias? Am I treating others with any discrimination in this moment? And can I speak up or take any actions to alter that going forward, in my own life or in others?  

“Ask the question. Of your life, your work, your roles, your assumptions.

Claire Chitham

HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO ACHIEVE GENDER BALANCE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

Currently, I’m writing a tv show about a badly behaved female character who does, says and shags whatever the hell she wants to and writes her own rule book in life. Telling stories from an honest, complex and emotionally intelligent point of view is my creative focus. And I identify as a woman so it’s done with a female gaze I guess.  I’ve been lucky enough to play some bolshy, complex, unique women in my career so far, especially on stage. But we will have to write stories that are incredibly biased towards females, or any minority group, for at least the next 50 years to even come close to achieving gender balance in the cinematic landscape thus far. Imagine all the westerns we’ll have to remake with cowgirls and trans leads cracking the whip instead of the boys! But shows like the Handmaids Tale and Big Little Lies and I Love Dick are pointing us all in the right direction. Stories can teach us about ourselves and I feel a responsibility to be doing that with as much authenticity, understanding, variety and honesty as I can intelligently summon up. That goes for the characters I play as much as the ones I am now helping to create. I say no to projects that I don’t think help advance our humanity.   

ARE THERE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WOMEN YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE?

That when our feelings get hurt, we break. We are VERY hard creatures to break. I think society in general – all genders – have this idea that if women cry or show strong emotional reactions to things, that means something finite. Or that something is wrong or negative. Our feelings are fluid, they are our barometer and we can move through them to discover the truth of a moment, whether that be big or small. Just because I’ve cried and got upset about something, it doesn’t mean I’m stuck in that place or immoveable because of it. In fact, it usually means that I can move towards a whole new level of understandng about something. Because we need to process all the feelings to get to the truth of a matter. Our sensitivities are part of our strength. Our intuition relies on our emotional intelligence. I wish there was a greater respect for it, or maybe just a more readily accepted understanding of it. It could be our superpower, if we all weren’t so bloody confused by it all the time. 


Dressed and Photographed by Glassons

Hair by Frenchie & Co

Interviewed by Flossie.


Flossie | Book hair & beauty appointments instantly from curated salons.

[brizy_navigation name=”footer-menu”]