Shocking discrimination: ‘I felt like a piece of meat’
Women's voices around the world have never been louder.
Females are speaking out, sharing their stories, breaking down barriers, overcoming major hurdles and paving the way for the success of future female generations.
But the real strength is found when acknowledging diversity and offering opportunities which celebrate females of all ages, identities, cultures and backgrounds.
While progress is being made, prominent Queensland women reveal the personal stories that have reminded them how far there is still to go.
These empowering women also share what change they want to see change and reflect on what women everywhere can celebrate ahead of International Women's Day on March 8.
CATE CAMPBELL, 28, ATHLETE
I was going to a pilates class dressed in standard workout gear - shorts and a singlet.
I was striding with purpose along the sidewalk and a middle-aged man was approaching me from the opposite direction.
As I strode past him, he made a move to stop me with his hand, looked me up and down and, with a small smile, said "I just wanted to thank you for your amazing legs."
For the next five minutes, he proceeded to thank me profusely for having 'amazing legs' in a way that made me feel uncomfortable and exposed.
I arrived at my pilates session late and feeling mildly violated.
Incidences like these are often dismissed by men who say 'women should just learn to take a compliment'.
However, these encounters just perpetuate the objectification of women.
I felt like a piece of meat, an object whose only worth came from the pleasure I could give the male gaze.
I'd love to see a relenting of the unrealistic beauty standards imposed upon women.
It disheartens me that success for women is often depicted as beauty; as if the best thing woman can aspire to be is beautiful.
I'd like women to celebrate the things that makes us women. Diversity drives creativity and creativity drives innovation and innovation drives progress.
SHARYN GHIDELLA, 55, JOURNALIST
I don't think I could count the times I've been overlooked for roles because I'm a woman, but on the flip side, I also acknowledge I have been given jobs and promotions based on my gender.
I just long for a day when gender doesn't matter at all.
That we can look beyond that and treat everyone on an equal footing.
I would like to see a slowing of pace for society as a whole, but particularly for women, who are very good at trying to do it all.
COVID has been terrible, but one thing it's taught me is that we don't need to be doing a million things at a cracking pace to be happy with life.
Women have so much to celebrate.
Look how far we've come and what we've achieved.
There is no denying women are equally capable and brilliant and while many barriers still need to be broken, we should use this day to acknowledge the giant strides that have been made and the endless opportunities ahead.
Women contribute so much to society.
It's such a pity we don't have more days on the calendar set aside to recognise that.
AMY SHEPPARD, 30, SINGER
Many people might not know that Sheppard has two lead vocalists.
George and myself share lead vocals in the band but many people only focus on George as the sole lead singer of the band.
When you delve into gender discrimination in the music industry you will discover that male lead vocalists are often placed in favour over female lead vocalists.
Although all males in our band and in our team are very supportive of the females in our team, the external barriers within the industry are very real and very hard to break out from.
If I could wave a magic wand and change something overnight it would be the sexualisation of women in marketing.
Every day, everywhere you go and everywhere you look you are being advertised to and often the representation of women in these advertising campaigns are unrealistic and over sexualised.
In the past couple of years I've seen a huge shift in women supporting women.
It's very uncool for women to shame other women, we need each other and I hope we see this trend continue.
ERIN HOLLAND, 31, TV PRESENTER/SINGER/MODEL
I've been really fortunate in my career to not be subjected to huge amounts of gender discrimination apart from the odd troll personally on social media and for this I feel incredibly lucky.
I know a lot of women have had to fight to pave this road and I pay my utmost respect to them and hope to positively contribute to their legacy as I continue to present sport in Australia and across the globe.
The negativity on social media can be quite damaging, particularly if you're having a difficult day. I often get trolled for my non-curvy figure, mostly by young men.
More education and accountability for online bullying would make a massive impact in many individuals lives.
This women's day we can celebrate the incredible women in our life.
Women championing other women, recognising their successes, their contributions, their friendships, their support, the difference they are making in our lives.
Let's celebrate one another, and recognise how far we have come.
FELICITY PALMATEER, 28, BIG WAVE SURFER
The vast differences around how male and female surfers are marketed by the surf brands has at times, been pretty shocking.
For example, it's "cool" if guys are seen looking all messy, dishevelled and rough.
They'll run photos of them drinking and smoking with their pants falling down, even vomiting, there is no way similar imagery of female surfers could be used and considered cool or acceptable.
Even though brands sponsor beautiful talented, female athletes, they still fork out silly money and hire female models for photo shoots, and have them pose even though they can't even carry or hold a surfboard properly.
Do you think the male surfers would ever allow this?
Not a chance! The credibility and investment is in the athletes.
I am encouraged, however, by the brave women who have come forward and made their voices heard in recent times, particularly since 2019 and the powerful MeToo movement.
I hope the many stories and voices and global attention signifies real change for women in many industries.
As a full-time surfer, I can say that the women receiving equal prizemoney and the establishment of stand-alone Big Wave tour events has been rewarding for me personally and professionally.
I hope and trust this continues. It helps form a credible platform by which so many other decisions are made.
ANGIE KENT, 31, REALITY STAR
I have experienced gender discrimination off and on my entire life.
One of the biggest examples would have to be when I went from one opportunity in life/career (especially with being in the public eye it got worse) and I saw a lot of people say that I shouldn't have done this particular job because of how it would make my partner feel at the time.
How come a woman can't have solid successful work life and a relationship without people saying that she should have thought about how her 'man' would feel?
I believe men have a solid opportunity to have both a partner / family life and are hardly ever questioned about their intentions the than they love to work and love their family?
Women are so scrutinised if they are too successful. Like they should pick one or the other? No! We can have it all too!
I want more equality. Being a feminist simply means that you desire equality for both sexes. We don't want revenge or to throw our weight around.
If we did want that, then best believe men would be in trouble, because we are so powerful.
This International Women's Day, I'll be celebrating the fact we're absolutely making waves. Keep supporting one another and keep remembering that we are so strong.
Do it for our sisters who never had a voice, our ancestors who suffered in silence with no freedom of speech or choice.
Some who still don't.
We are powerful and this is only the beginning.
We've got this.
BIANCA DYE, 47, RADIO HOST
When I was a lot younger I was a part of a huge travelling performance show, it was really confronting because I had to deal with men who didn't feel that I deserved the same level of respect for my opinions and what I could bring to the table.
It pissed me off and was a frustrating experience, but only made me more passionate in ensuring my voice was heard later in life which ironically was ideal for being in radio!
I want to see an opportunity for women to be able to actually get involved in industries and fields they are excited by without fear of being the only girl there.
Go forward and own your place and space without fear and be supported!
ABBIE CHATFIELD, 25, REALITY STAR/PODCASTER
I've experienced discrimination in both of my jobs before I was on TV.
I was working in hospitality and told directly from managers that I wasn't able to be a manager despite being very hard working.
The owner did not think a woman could manage the restaurant. I remember in my interviews in my first real estate job, despite having a property economics degree, I was told women aren't to be in sales, they should stay in marketing or would make a good personal assistant.
This gender bias that exists in hiring and also in promoting is a contributor to the gender pay gap which is extremely frustrating.
I have had to fight tooth and nail to get a promotion and pay rise whereas my male counterparts did not.
Within workplaces that are male dominated, if you are the only woman in your role particularly in office environments, you are often expected to do an admin role.
Not only was an analyst/admin (in property) and doing two roles, plus getting paid less despite the fact I had the same qualifications as my male counterparts, while they went for lunch with their bosses, I had to stay back and plan lunches.
In saying this, there is continued progress, development and a larger spotlight being shone on women's rights.
This International Women's Day, we can celebrate ourselves, the other women in our lives and our strength.
RACHEL THAIDAY, 35, QLD PERSONALITY
Sadly, the most shocking example of gender discrimination can be from other women.
I think we grow up constantly in competition with males.
It starts in the home with your brothers, continues into the classroom and flows through to the workplace.
Unfortunately, you can become complacent about discrimination as it comes from a range of different people and scenarios.
I would love for all women to have confidence in themselves and not let others define them. It's no secret that being active has played a significantly large role in my life and I'm thankful to have the ability to continue on my healthy journey.
We all deserve the chance to move towards our best potential and I'm always extremely grateful to my family and close friends for their constant support and encouragement.
DAMI IM, 32, MUSICIAN
We have come so far but there is still a long way to go.
There needs to be more support around equal pay and domestic violence, that is an ongoing issue that needs attention.
So much has changed because of the brave women that paved the way before us.
I've benefited so much from them, I have had such a great career and I've had lots of great opportunities even though I'm a woman.
It's because of those women that came before me who did the hard yards and fought for that equality.
I think we can celebrate the fact more women are able to live the dream they want and have the careers they want without being discriminated against.
Originally published as 'I felt like a piece of meat': Qld women reveal shocking tales of discrimination