The Women of Good Inspiring Inclusion

#inspireinclusion with International Women’s Day, 8 March 2024

Imagine a world where gender equality prevails – a world devoid of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A diverse, fair and inclusive place where differences are embraced and celebrated.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. Collectively, we can forge a more inclusive world for women.

As we unite to champion women’s equality and celebrate this year’s theme, we take a look back at ‘Women of Good’ – inspiring women who have featured on the cover of Good over the last year and the encouraging knowledge and wisdom they have to share:

Peta Mathias

Peta Mathias’ life has been anything but dull. Her journey and career are an inspiration to all women, especially regarding self-expression. When it comes to presenting ourselves, Peta, 74, reminds us that our choice of clothing is often influenced by people we grew up admiring, therefore creating a sense of one’s own value. If there is a style you’ve been wanting to try, a dress you’ve been admiring from afar, it might be a great chance to express yourself.

Peta says there is nothing that compares to the thrill of something new-to-you and “happy-making”, that lifts your spirit and self-esteem.

“Dressing beautifully is not superficial, it is about self-worth,” says Peta.

In her book, Can We Help It If We’re Fabulous? Peta recounts her own life lessons, as well as interviewing a range of women from psychologists to plastic surgeons, sex therapists to hairdressers, doctors to singers – and discovers what a woman needs to make her happy, independent and successful.

Her latest book, Shed Couture, is dedicated to her stylish mother who was a painter and made her own clothes.

Petra Bagust

On the topic of inspiring age-related inclusion, broadcaster Petra Bagust says, “Who I am, how I am in the world and how I behave and treat others is a reflection of how I treat myself and is more important than if I look 35 or 40. People might look at me and go, ‘she’s really aged’ and that’s fine. What about all the women who are ageing alongside me, who go, ‘yeah, I’ve got lines too.”

Many of us seek ways to slow down the signs of aging, and though there is nothing wrong with that, if it makes us happy, Petra, 51, wants to show women that we are also perfectly worthy just the way we are.

Now heading into its fifth season, Petra’s podcast Grey Areas is a place where women are free to express themselves and talk openly about navigating growing older and menopause.

“Women have so much wisdom and we can and do support one another,” Petra says. “If we can do that in this way, where we share our stories, where things resonate, take what serves us and leave what doesn’t, and find the answers within. Let’s turn to ourselves with trust, compassion and love and go for gold.”

Ruby Tui

If there is a woman who lives and breathes resilience, it’s Ruby Tui. The World Cup-winning Black Fern, rugby player, Olympic gold medalist, bestselling author, public speaker and sports commentator encourages women to be themselves and to be authentic in life.

When discussing self-love, Ruby says “The definition of being authentic is doing and saying what you actually think… figure out what do you actually think about the world and yourself, and sometimes it’s not nice what you find out, but that’s ok, because you can’t change it until you figure out what you’re changing – what you’re changing from, what you’re changing to.”

Ruby, 31, is an inspiration to all young women trying to find their place in life. If there was a message she’d share with mothers, aunties and grandmother of young female athletes, she would say keep at it because a crazy number of CEOs and CFOs and people in leadership roles have also played sport.

“Sport grows leadership, it grows you as a person, it grows your ability to grow, and it puts you in these situations in life that you can handle that others potentially could not,” says Ruby.

Hayley Holt

Hayley Holt has been in the public eye plenty in her life, so she knows the social pressures of body image. Now that social media has taken over, young women can become more susceptible to stresses and burdens when it comes to how they see themselves, and how they think others see them.

“It’s important to try and surround yourself with a protective field so that you’re not getting everyone else’s energy,” Holt says. “If you’re feeling down, it may be others’ energy and not just your own. Remember to surround yourself with good people and good energy.”

Hayley, 43, is an inspiration to all women. Her battles with grief and alcohol have helped her to become stronger and more resilient, allowing her to share her advice and knowledge with others.

Stacey Morrison

This talented wāhine’s star has burned brightly on our TV screens since her first role on What Now at age 18. Now 50, Stacey Morrison shines ever brighter as an inspiration for all women. The Flava radio co-host, author, Māori language tutor, cultural advisor and mum of three is standing in her power as a Ngāi Tahu women in leadership.

Morrison is a role model for all women, especially Māori women, encouraging them and everyone to have a go at learning te Reo Māori. “We’re talking about a million speakers by 2040,” she says. “Even if you just say kia ora, which is literally wishing people good health in a way that doesn’t sound cheesy. It has a kind of power and lilt and vibration that people like, and it’s a way for us all to lean into it.”

Morrison is also an ambassador for Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.  Her mother died of breast cancer age 45 and her grandmother aged 49. Having to become a mother without them around made this a purposeful way for Morrison to honor them.

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