‘I want my daughter to be able to walk home without fear’

For International Women’s Day, four inspiring women share what’s on their wishlist for women over the next five years – and better personal safety is high on the agenda.

It’s one of the most important dates on the calendar, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally.

For International Women’s Day on March 8, four trailblazers in their fields share their hopes and wishes for the next five years.

Nicole Livingstone

AFLW boss and former Olympic swimmer

One of Australia’s most successful swimmers, three-time Olympian Nicole Livingstone was a member of the national swimming team for 12 years and won six Commonwealth Games gold medals, as well as silver and bronze at World Championships.

Moving her winning ways to dry land, the mum of three is now AFL head of women’s football, is on the Swimming Australia Board and is patron of Ovarian Cancer Australia, an organisation she co-founded with sister Karen.

Nicole’s wishlist:

“I would like to see a greater respect for women in society and safety in their homes. For my daughter to have confidence to walk home without fear. And finally, for women to be equally valued and equally respected in all areas of their lives.”

Jo Stanley

Comedian, author and House of Wellness co-host

Popular comedian, author, speaker, media personality and now co-host of House of Wellness TV and radio shows, Jo is the creator of the Play Like A Girl book series and proud ambassador for the Lighthouse Foundation and Smiling Mind.

A strong advocate for health and wellness, Jo has a passion for meditation, which she shares with daughter Willow.

Jo’s wishlist:

“The greatest challenge for women, right now, around the world, is actually safety. In Australia, one woman a week dies at the hand of a current or former partner. It’s a horrific and confronting fact that must change. And to do that, we have to acknowledge and address the fact that violence – whether it be physical, psychological, emotional or financial – is the result of a mindset of lack of respect for women.”

“So in the next 5 years, of course I desperately want there to be an end to violent deaths of women and their children, and for the support services that help women who are trying to get safe to be adequately funded and freely available.

“And worldwide I wish for all girls to be able to go to school, to never be forced into marriage, and to be given the same opportunity as her brothers to explore life and her own potential, without limits. It feels like a big wish list for five years, but I believe the movement for change is here now. It’s an exciting time!”

Amna Karra-Hassan

Women’s AFL pioneer and champion for diversity, inclusion and gender equality

A pioneer of women’s AFL in western Sydney and founder of the Auburn Giants Football Club for women, Amna is an influential advocate for diversity and inclusion for women and minorities in the community, workplace and sports.

Amna is a board member on several not-for-profits including GoActive, Welcoming Cities and works as special counsel for community engagement for the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue as well as for the Lebanese Muslim Association.

Amna’s wishlist:

“I’d like to see a real shift in gender equality, reflected across all areas of the workforce and an improvement in conditions for women. Workplaces where there is no glass ceiling and where women are given the same choices as men. And I’d like to see a decrease in the insidious crimes and violence against women.”

Elizabeth Barbalich

Entrepreneur and company director

The brains behind the natural NZ skincare range Antipodes, entrepreneur and company director Elizabeth Barbalich started her range from her Wellington kitchen before turning her passion into a global beauty brand.

With a background in science, the mum of three and powerhouse businesswomen has become a leader for certified organic and vegan skincare.

Elizabeth’s wishlist:

“That women will be part of the change and will see the change of positive environmental impact. There is a large movement towards plastic-free, waste-free communities and I believe women (as still being the main child carers) have a vital role to play in this.

“I also wish to see more women entrepreneurs! Women are natural multi-taskers and ‘get things done’ people and given the right platform can exceed in businesses. My approach is to be strategic and hands-on and have empathy and understand all roles and levels of tasks throughout your business. I’m sure most women can relate to this!”

Written by Liz McGrath.