It was a great honor to present to the beautiful women of Africa Day Australia as a guest speaker on this momentous occasion. I thought I would share my speech below for those who couldn’t make it to share as we celebrate women and the men who allow us to stand tall. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know on the comments please.
My name is Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae. I am a bit nervous so I hope I will not have verbal diarrhoea and divulge all my secrets. I am a mum, wife, medical practitioner and I own a small business called Losika Writes. I was kindly asked to provide a speech to an awesome bunch of women to celebrate international women’s day and I thought, sure why not. I am a woman, tick so I already tick that box at least. But then I had to decide what to talk about and that was the tricky bit.
Do I talk how being born a female in 2019 still sucks compared to being born a male anywhere in the world? Or about how 1 in 2 women in Australia will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime? Or how despite working hard women earn 85c compared to $1 earnt by men doing the same jobs yet then still do the bulk of unpaid care work at home.
So you can understand how if I was to talk about the #metoo movement or how 10 women and 1 child have died since the beginning of 2019 in Australia alone or how women such as Ms Rahaf Alqanun have to literally run away from their homes and lock themselves in hotel rooms to get tell the world of the plight of women in different parts of the world how sad my talk would be. I think these issues are important discussions to be had and I am sure we can make time for each of them, but I thought I would be uplifting on this special day.
So for that I turned towards the theme for this year which is balance for better. First thing I thought was oh no, they want me to talk about how work life balance and how I am amazing at that. Well, I did say I was juggling motherhood, being a doctor, lecturer, business owner etc so I must admit that work life balance is a mythical creature in my life. On further review though, the theme is about creating a gender balanced world which I think is a great challenge we as women face.
On this, the 108th celebration of international women’s day can we try to spice things up a bit and hopefully try and get equality quicker than the 202 years projected for equality at the current rate. That means, with everything remaining the same, it will only be my great, great, great, great, great, grand daughters who would get to enjoy the fruits of our labour so I thought we could get things rolling a lot sooner. I understand that we have already made great strides as women in the recent centuries, but I am challenging us to try and pick up the pace. It was almost a hundred years ago that women discussed with the men in their lives the importance of equality in terms of casting a vote in the USA. Following that, MEN then voted to allow women to cast their own votes.
So why don’t we follow in their lead to make men be the ones working harder for our equality?
So why don’t we get the men in our lives to recognise when women are not being treated equally and to do something about it?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to question when they are invited to board meetings or panels that don’t involve any women?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to call out and have a zero tolerance to sexual harassment of women?
Why don’t we teach our sons that being a man doesn’t involve showing strength by beating up women but rather by building them up?
Why don’t we get the investor men in our lives to question why board members of the companies they invest in don’t have women on board?
Why don’t we get the leading mean in our lives to know that trying to rule a country with political parties, or institutions with only males at the helm is like trying to fly a 747 aeroplane with only 50% engine capacity, a recipe for disaster.
Women account for 50% of the worlds population so I think it is about time some of those men stood up and made room for our fabulousness at the table. All men come from a woman, were cared for by a woman, were nursed and probably taught by a woman to become who they are. So surely, we should ensure they know how fabulous we are.
They shouldn’t just stand up to pull our chairs or to open doors for us, they should question why we are not shoulder to shoulder with them and make room for us at the table.
It all starts with us owning our power and educating the men we birth and raise, the men we grow up with, the men we love and interact with and all men in general to stand up for our equality. So let us get to it ladies, this job needs all of us.
Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae
MBBS, DCH, DRANZCOG, FRACGP