The following piece is written by Tammie Leong, Senior Lecturer of the Bachelor of Media Design.
I was asked to write a short blog post in response to the international women’s day as an emerging female leader across the business.
Firstly, I’m honoured – this opportunity itself is an acknowledgment of our voice and presence in the workplace. This year, we talked a lot about balance and equality. Equality is never an easy balance in any place, time or relationship. It’s a simple concept but yet complicated. So, I took some time to think and reflect on my own profession and work environment on what I’ve encountered in relation to this topic.
I’ve come to realise that balance begins when one individual decided to make a change from within. Hence, I would like to share three takeaways from my own reflection to create a better self for the exciting future where the world expects balance.
Courage can be contagious and don’t underestimate thoughts.
Balance is not one way. It takes both sides to communicate and respond in order to meet somewhere in the middle. I’ve learned that it takes courage to speak up and voice your thoughts. Being passive is a choice, and hope can take on a life of its own. Options are always available if you choose to look wider. I remembered the first time I voiced my concerns firmly in a meeting room – it comes off messy and abrupt. However, like anything learned, courage needs to be practiced. We should think critically with our opinions, and be intellectually rigorous with our biases, our prejudice, and our privileges. We should be masters in navigating our thoughts into a constructive idea.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
For a long time, this sentence was drilled into my head by my sensei while training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu five times a week. It was the dojo’s discipline to teach us to be flexible and adaptive with our mind and body. I couldn’t really implement the idea of “change” and I found it frustrating to grasp. All I see was there are just too many big guys on the mat, and I felt helpless. However, I love the philosophy of this art form and I refused to be a victim. So, I looked into my perception of my own capabilities. I’ve learned to use a different lens to see myself, my doubts and my fears. That’s when the magic begins, where I start to explore possibilities. One will need to be flexible and adaptable in order to create change. Equality is not just about fighting for it. It takes the whole community to change the old ways. And if we are part of the community we care for, perhaps change begins from the individual.
Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.
Most of the social arguments are kept alive by the failure of acknowledging nuances. We tend to generate false polarity by arguing one point using two different sets of assumptions. I find myself doing this sometimes, just to prove my point. Perhaps, such incredible brain work should put to use on embracing positivity rather than encouraging argument. Define yourself with what you love. I’ve realised I tend to deconstruct my identity by defining myself to opposition stuff. This idea of being part of the subculture is to “hate” or “dislike” has only made me the person who disrupt my own equality belongings. We should try to express ourselves more through the things we love. Be demonstrative and generous with our praise of those we admire. Be pro-stuff, not anti-stuff.
I’ve met a lot of incredible and inspiring women, some of whom are mentors, within the journey of my career being an educator and a designer. People often refer to them as the few that a durable and strong. However, these individuals have taught me to always strive to first improve to be a better self. Leaders don’t lead, they create examples. I believe for a better future to the gender-balanced world, we should try to look carefully into our own behaviours in order to create harmonious communities that thrive.