Today is International Woman's Day: a day to celebrate cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women.
We're lucky to have some incredible female instructors on the MindLabs app, and many wonderful women on the MindLabs team. We sat down with a few of our instructors to talk about the inspirational women in their lives and what womanhood means to them...
Who are some of the women who have inspired you most in your life?
My mum. She’s loving, warm and generous. She loves helping people, is a boss lady and has got my back. Lady Gaga also inspires me. I love how she keeps recreating herself again and again.
My biggest inspiration is my mum, if I’m even half the woman she is it’d be a compliment!
My best friends are also the women I admire the most, they’re resilient, brave and empowering women I’m lucky to be surrounded by them!
Marian Wright Edelman said “you can’t be what you can’t see.” But here are some women who may not have seen themselves represented in mainstream media, and carved out their places in society in spite of their numerous obstacles and challenges. These are the women who inspire me most.
Aaron Philip, someone who broke through every single imaginable barrier to get where she is. She's a young, transgender woman of colour who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby. Watching her modelling career progress to the mainstream is a source of much needed, deep healing for my inner child, who grew up thinking she would not be accepted unless she looked like Nicole Richie circa 2006.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this woman has ‘president’ written all over her forehead. She gives me hope for the future of intersectionality in politics. So often we are set on fighting for changes that directly impact us (or people who look like us) when we should really be using our power, voice, and privileges to push for a future where everyone thrives. She is informed and considerate of the struggles of ‘othered’ groups, and committed to making meaningful change.
My Grandmother, Goldie - who faced so many obstacles and so much pain as a refugee from former Yugoslavia. She taught me the true meaning of resilience and always reminds me to make the best out of every situation, to be kind but not let yourself be taken advantage of, and to have fun as much as possible. She has shaped my life beyond measure.
My Mum - for her kick ass bravery, fierce loyalty, and how she injects joy, laughter and positivity into everything she does.
My Grandma - for teaching me the importance of having faith in something higher, mainly through watching her beloved chanting and connecting to the divine.
Is there anyone in the mental wellness or mindfulness space that particularly inspires you?
In the wellness space I really admire Kayla Barnes, she’s so informative and I love how she backs things up with science! Girl after my own heart!
Of course all of our wonderful instructors, who do so much work outside of MindLabs to spark conversations about mental health, feminism and inclusivity.
I am also a longtime fan of the pioneering work of Amanda Fielding and the Beckley foundation, who have been pushing the boundaries for what mental health solutions could look like.
Oprah for her constant honesty!
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It's a day to honour the women that have broken barriers for us to be where we are today, to remember the struggles that women still go through, and to celebrate women for being the epic humans that they are!
It is an opportunity to celebrate and uphold the women who have come before us, who went out of their way to challenge the status quo and helped shape a fairer world. International women's day is an opportunity to learn about where we’ve been, where we’re at, and how change has been actioned. It can help us reflect on how we as individuals can tackle the inequalities that still persist, and put effort into the areas we feel are still lacking.
International Women’s Day is a day to show gratitude to all the wonderful women in the world! It’s a day to honour all the women that have broken barriers for us to be where we are today, to remember the struggles that women still go through and celebrate women for being the epic humans that they are!
A day to celebrate every one of us who identifies as being a woman, to break barriers and to be fearless in our strength together.
It means to a day to celebrate, recognise how incredible women are. To lift each other up, reminding one another of our greatness, not just for the day, but every day.
What would you go back and tell your younger self about what it means to be a woman?
I’d tell her that to be a woman is to be powerful, to be intuitive, and to know that she is far greater than others’ external perception of her.
If I could go back, I'd tell the younger me that being a woman is a really interesting experience. It means standing up for the values you hold and to not let anyone get in the way of that! Being a woman is epic. Women are powerful, strong, beautiful, inspirational and just really really really cool!!
I don't think the insights I have now would have been very helpful around the time I was growing up. Womanhood is complex and always changing, which I think is a good thing. These days I feel the expectation to express your femininity is much less present than when I was young. I guess if I could go back in time, I’d give my younger self this advice: As a woman you will be raised to be polite and accommodating, people will try to take advantage of this and coerce you into situations you don't feel comfortable with. Don’t feel the need to be pleasant with someone who is clearly being unpleasant with you.
Trust yourself. You know the answers. Listen to your body. Rest when you have your period. Don’t attach your worth to how people treat you. Don’t let what’s expected of women define what you want. Go for what you want. Don’t compromise.