Creating a revolution: behind the scenes

I’ve recently had a few people asking why we need money to start a national day for women and girls.

I think this is such an important conversation. It has really highlighted for me how invisible I’ve been in really sharing what’s involved in creating a national day.

So I’m changing all of that from here on in because I think it’s hugely important for us all to understand what it takes to start a national movement at this scale.

Here’s a rough overview of what it has taken to put Australian Women’s Day together so far:

– three of us – myself, Nicole Rowan Holt and Sarah Fiess – have worked almost full time on a voluntary basis for the last 6 months to pull it together. (We’re all mums of young children – Sarah literally had her second child a month ago – we’re all business women, and we’ve all put ourselves under significant financial strain to dedicate that time to this day. I’m not complaining about that. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do this work. And I think it’s so important that people see what it takes to pull this off.)

– We started by working on the concept – what its potential is, why it matters, how we can make it a day that’s not just a token nod to women and girls. Then we moved onto working out how to feature as many women as possible. How to raise as many voices as possible.

– We obviously needed an online platform to host the stories and so we bought a URL and bought hosting and paid a developer to put it together.

– Then we sought and paid for legal advice about the name.

– Then we coordinated a whole bunch of volunteers to come together in Melbourne to shoot a video. The incredible Alice Tovey (also volunteering her time) was instrumental in making that happen. That involved writing a script and connecting with as many women as possible, flying to Melbourne, convincing women to give up their Sunday to come and do filming, gathering the crew, liaising with them about the look and feel of the video, feeding them, getting a space that would work for filming, liaising with them around post production. (The editing team working for hours and hours and hours on the video – all volunteers.)

– We prepared a funding campaign (something that, by the way, I’d recommend taking about 2 months to prepare properly. I had about a fortnight to pull it all together).

– We’ve then spent the next 3 weeks reaching out and encouraging people to support the campaign in an attempt to get seed funding in the door because by that point it was becoming clear that volunteer labour and paying for everything out of our pockets wasn’t a sustainable way to run the day. (During the last 6 months we’ve had a number of women volunteer their time and then, precisely because we haven’t been able to pay them, have had to pull out because of their own financial and time pressures.)

– We worked with the wonderful Emma Kempnich (who volunteered her time) to create a logo and a style guide and ensure that the branding of the day looks beautiful and enticing and encourages people to be a part of the day.

– We worked with an illustrator Cass Deller Design (who also volunteered her time) to create some beautiful images for the day.

– We worked with another designer Paula Ivy (who also volunteered her time) to build out graphics for the website and the podcast.

– We’ve been managing a team of volunteers to create the live events and to liaise with and coordinate the community events happening around the country. The incredible Avalon Darnesh has been volunteering her time to make this all happen with a small team of dedicated women including the wonderful Wendy Klason.

– We’ve liaised with as many women’s organisations as we’ve had time to connect with, asking them to help us spread the news because we know the best way to get the word out to is to tap into already existing networks.

– We’ve written all the copy for the website and many many many emails and letters.

– We’ve made hundreds of phone calls with women telling them about the day, asking them to get involved, inviting them to be a speaker, responding to inquiries about the day.

– We’ve worked with a bookkeeper – the gorgeous Sylvia Chierchia (who also volunteered her time) to track the bills.

– We’ve had people give us advice (also for free) on everything from how to fundraise well, to how to develop a sponsorship package.

– We located, booked and paid for a venue for the official event in Melbourne. Then we set about organising the flow of the main event, working out seating and decorations and speaker lineup and how to make the day the most incredibly memorable experience ever.

– We created a marketing strategy and started implementing it, including the writing and scheduling of social media posts, recording a podcast, working out the branding around the podcast, connecting with influencers… (The list of marketing tasks goes on and on and on.)

– We’ve purchased facebook ads so people know about the day.

– We’ve worked with an artist and my dear sister Briony Moylan (also volunteering her time) to create colouring sheets for kids to participate in the day, and to develop an activity for schools to get involved in the day.

– We’ve started liaising with schools to come and speak with them about the day so girls and teenagers can get involved. (My own brother in law has volunteered a number of hours of his own time creating an event at the school he teaches at, to help spread the word.)

And the list goes on and on – this is a mere sample of the tasks – and it doesn’t include all the backend stuff that supports the various initiatives I’ve mentioned here.

I wanted to share this because I really am so passionate about people understanding that social change doesn’t just happen.

It happens because people work to make it happen. Because women dedicate hours and hours and hours of their time to making it happen. And they do that because they want a better world for women and girls. Because they see women struggling by themselves and want to change that. Because they see girls and boys being socially conditioned in very unhealthy ways around sexuality and around bodily autonomy. Because they see women struggling to make ends meet in the later years of their lives because they just didn’t earn enough in the years that they were working to cover their costs as they age. Because they’re tired of women being disrespected when they dare to step into leadership roles. Because they’re tired of being told their voices are shrill and that their opinions are not as valid as others’.

Social change of the kind we’re looking to create is going to take more than a few women to create. It’s going to take ALL OF US to pitch in. To do our bit. To take a stand.

If part of that for you is donating a few dollars to our Gofundme campaign to help us get this day happening, then you have our eternal gratitude.

We can’t wait to feature as many women as we possibly can over the next decade and beyond. Raising all women’s voices. Sharing all the stories. Raising incredible amounts of money for charities that support women. Tracking our progress and deciding collectively how we can create the change we want to see in the world.

That’s the vision. That’s why we started the day. And we launched the Gofundme campaign so you can help us achieve that and be a part of the team that brought Australian Women’s Day to the world. I can’t tell you how excited my own daughter is that her mum is bringing Australian Women’s Day to the world. Let’s go build this legacy for her generation and for ALL future generations.

Big Sistership love,

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