In honour of today's global celebration of women, we chat with women from the JMC Academy Community about this year's theme - 'Choose to Challenge'!
There's no doubt that women can run the world (and the JMC News Section - hello from Vanessa) and while there are still challenges we face every day, society and those challenges alike have come a long way to better gender equality around the world.
This International Women's Day, we wanted to give some members of our JMC Community the chance to celebrate and share with us their take on this year's theme 'Choose to Challenge' and discuss how they think we can lift each other up to build a better community for all.
Let's introduce Serena - JMC's National Digital Assistant, Kirst - Brisbane Campus' Campus Director, Amy - Music Performance Alumni (and stellar performer Little Green) and Nathalie - a Tri 3 Music Student with a heart of gold!
What does the International Women's Day Theme "Choose to Challenge" mean to you?
Serena: Part of growing is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, I think it’s important to dare to do what you’ve been afraid of – choose to challenge. What that means to me is: Question why things are done a certain way, or why speak or be spoken to in a certain way. Push myself to do the things I didn’t think I had the opportunity or courage to do.
Kirst: In whatever space we have we can approach it creatively – don’t hold back!
Nathalie: It means to not be complacent and always choose to become better because there's always room to grow
What women inspire you and why?
Serena: I’m inspired by the women around me such as friends or the ladies at work. In terms of being inspired to work towards my larger goals, I look up to people within the industry in terms of their work and how they carry themselves.
Kirst: Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg – she was a champion for true equality, it wasn’t about tearing men down but to simply have the same rights. Close to home - I’ve been fortunate to have strong women role models and mentors throughout my career and private life. They were about fairness and equity, not afraid of their own voice and did it with just being themselves.
Nathalie: I'm inspired by women like Alicia Keys, she's so versatile and is living proof of a strong and impactful woman in the music industry.
Amy: First up, Glennon Doyle. Her memoir “Untamed” has inspired me to live like a wild child, following the sacred truth that speaks from within me. Second, the characters I read about in stories. I just read a book called “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. Both protagonists Mariam, and Laila have left an imprint on my soul, with their strength and undying motherly love that transcends all the oppression, hatred and suffering of their story. And last but not least, my mum, who has sacrificed everything for her daughters. She raised us to be strong but kind, selfless but empowered, independent and free. She uplifts me every day.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women of your age?
Serena: I think something women struggle with due to the rise of social media and hustling is thinking that you need to be young and pretty to be successful. In the streaming industry, people treat content creators like models claiming they’ll have their twenties to be famous then fade away. This is prevalent in the K-pop industry and I guess TV too. EVERYWHERE I think it’s important to change that perception of women. That there is no expiry date, and their hard work and talent should be the focus rather than the shallow things. The kind of language and way we describe people shouldn’t focus as much on age and beauty. There are so many amazing women doing great things their whole lives. It’s really weird to be in your early twenties worrying about running out of time, no such thing.
Kirst: We can be too humble… Sometimes we are watching the band, while we should be tooting our own horn.
Nathalie: We overthink everything, we're already thinking of the worst-case and have this expectation to be perfect before we even start doing anything, and that way we're too scared to do it in the first place. Unhealthy comparisons also comes to play in this.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a creative career?
Kirst: Be yourself by being your own boss. Accept and learn from constructive feedback – chocolate makes everything better.
Nathalie: Honestly just do it! Be open to learn from anyone and allow yourself to experiment, but don't compromise who you are and what you believe. We need more women who knows what they want and goes for it in the music industry.
Amy: Back yourself. There have been many times that I have trusted the opinion of others more than my own. Give yourself some space to make decisions, follow your intuition and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. It is much better to make the wrong decision than make no decision at all. When it comes to your art, you make the calls. A friend once said to me “no one can encapsulate your identity through music like you can”. That really stuck with me.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
Serena: Women are pitted against women too often. It’s toxic to see other women as competition as if there’s only room for 1. In terms of my personal experience, this can sometimes be a thing in the gaming industry. Rather women should band together and support one another. I think connecting with others is so important because often what they’re going through is what you’re going through too. It’s really important to celebrate, lift up and make meaningful long-term connections.
Kirst: Women rock… I agree that we as women we should celebrate nature others milestones and successes. But I feel that this should be second nature to everyone.
Nathalie: I think it's extremely important. Like I said before, the number of women in the music industry is just now growing and we still have some work to do, so if we're not the ones supporting each other how is anything going to change? I feel so empowered when I know another person who understands what I'm going through has got my back, and I would love to be the person who continues to do that for others.