International Women’s Day, or IWD, is a time to reflect on the triumphs, current landscape, and progress to be made for not only women in the workplace, but to celebrate their achievements, raise awareness about bias and discrimination, and to amplify the female voice to drive action towards change.
In a moment of reflection for IWD, we’ve engaged in a heart-to-heart with one of the many passionate ladies driving the success of the Brave+True label.
In an interview, mother, friend, partner, Brave+True Head Designer and all-rounder, Emma, 36, shares her experiences surrounding women in the workplace, her perspectives on what it means to work in a diverse and accepting culture, and what it’s like to face the challenges of a working woman in 2023.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: Well firstly.. I grew up in the countryside, riding motorbikes and not ever wearing shoes! I am the youngest of four with three older brothers, who are all extremely artistic and creative.
My Dad was a very talented artist and inspired us to always be creative, and my Mum was amazing at sewing and was always making us new outfits, which lead to my interest in fashion and apparel.
I have a diary entry from 11 years of ages saying I will “somehow be involved in fashion!” and always studied art and design subjects at school.
I started my careers doing as apprentice hairdresser, which I completed and then moved to London to work as a stylist! This lead me to work at London Fashion Week, where it hit me that I needed to come back to study fashion design in Australia.
Pictured: Head Designer Emma in our HQ located in Adelaide, Australia
Q: Which women do you admire the most?
A: I love Michelle Obama, her integrity, honesty and strength are hugely inspiring to me. The courage in Turia Pitt never ceases to amaze me. I have followed her journey for quite some time, and find her resilience and determination something everyone should aspire to embody.
Q: What changes have you noticed as a woman in the workplace over the span of your career?
A: I love that my career (in fashion) has meant that I am often alongside strong, powerful and established women! I think the fashion industry is far more advanced when it comes to gender equality but I definitely have noticed far more women in leadership/high management roles than ten years ago!
Q: What's the most valuable piece of advice you can pass on to women trying to establish their careers, or anyone striving for gender equality?
A: Only do work you LOVE! If you work within an industry or role that you love and are passionate about and you will always succeed. We are still many years away from closing the disparity between men and women’s salaries, but this should not hinder women to keep showing up and demonstrating how incredibly talented, and capable we are.
Q: What are some of the most surprising lessons you have learnt after becoming a mother?
A: You can do ANYTHING on no sleep! I have also learnt to be kind to myself, the pressure that women, and especially mothers put on themselves from societal expectations is to be entirely selfless can be so damaging.
We innately give to our child before our own needs of course, but the encouragement of dismissing our needs, as a mother is extremely detrimental to our mental health. This ultimately affects how well you can care and nurture for your children. Taking care of ourselves is the best way to show up for our kids.
Q: What is your go to style like?
A: Having 3 older brothers I can tend to lean towards a more androgynous style - I love a great tee, jeans and a blazer with chunky slides. I can also be the polar opposite and be extremely bright in my colours, and always more edge than feminine…
Q: What’s the most important lesson you wish to impart on your children about what it means to be a woman?
A: There is still a long way to go to strive for equality, and we WILL get there. We are powerful beings and should recognise and celebrate this everyday!
Q: What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
A: Whatever you do, just make sure you love it. Do not pursue a career/industry for money, to your parents proud, or for status. Make sure you are passionate about your job, and it will never feel like work!
Q: What are you most proud of as a woman?
A: I am proud that despite all of the challenges, inequality and bias we have had to face as women, that we continue to remain strong, resilient yet soft and compassionate all wrapped in a beautiful package.