Andrea T Edwards

Ladies and Gents, let’s all speak up for equality, because it’s good for everyone

I had the great privilege to give a short speech at the International Women’s Day 2020 event in Phuket, Thailand. Organized by Phuket Been Good To Us and Good Shepherd, two fantastic charities giving back in so many ways. Inspiring stuff. Thank you to Donna Toon and Tina Hall for asking me to be part of such an amazing day. You are both rockstars!!

Without further ado, for those interested in reading it, here we go! Naturally, I never deliver a speech as written, but Brenda Bence mentored me a few years ago, and taught me to write a speech first, before doing anything else. I do it every time, and it means you can share it after the fact!

Equality is good for everyone – we all have a part to play in getting to equality

I didn’t intend to speak about this today at International Women’s Day, but I can’t get it out of my head. When I was in Australia a couple of weeks ago, news broke that a man had doused his wife and three tiny children in petrol and set them alight in their car.

The children died at the scene, while the wife died shortly after. It made me sick. Such a terrible, horrible, way for this family to die. How can we continue to accept this in our societies? I am sick of it. We’re all sick of it.

This tragedy, once again, highlighted the fact one woman dies every week at the hands of her domestic partner in Australia.

The media coverage around this incident was equally appalling. It spoke of a loving father. A football star. A man pushed too far. 

This created further outrage – as it should – because words like this blame the victim, and the media keeps on doing it. The media, I tell you. Much to be held accountable for.  

We HAVE to stop laying the blame at the feet of women for men’s violence.   

Besides, surely it’s time we addressed the real issue – the societies we’ve built are broken. We can and MUST change this.

Let’s get focused on the problem, the sickness within, and start addressing it, with compassion, empathy and the investment required to do it properly.

There are too many broken people in our world. It really is time we sorted that out!

Violence towards women is on the rise world-wide.

But is it surprising, considering how divided the world is right now? When extremism – in all its ugly forms – is rising too? And let’s be honest here. Extremism has NEVER been good for women. Never.

When it comes to equality, we are way off track. Estimates to achieving it vary anywhere between 99 to 217 years!! There’s no question we’ve got a lot of work to do.

But let’s get focused! I’ve been attending and speaking at International Women’s Day events for years and who’s in the audience? Women.

It makes me want to scream every time it happens- equality isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue, because we all benefit from equality.

So bravo to the men in the room today. Awesome to have so many here.

How does equality benefit everyone?

Let’s look at the economic angle, because that matters.

Significantly higher GDP for countries. And I mean double digits higher.

Businesses are more successful and profitable when they prioritize it.

The business case has been made time and time again, right? Yet, here we are, still talking about it.

Violence and safety are one part of women’s life we must address, another is education!

If we make educating girls a global priority, we’ll be better positioned to tackle the biggest issues the world is facing right now – like the climate crisis and population explosion.

When a girl is educated, she has fewer children.

When a girl is educated, she grows into a woman who invests in both her children and her wider community.

The education of girls elevates us all.

But it’s not all rosy for men either.

The male breadwinner mindset persists, it’s been hammered in since birth, and it’s something that holds men back too. They are not free! I know Steve, my husband, feels it. I’m sure many others do too.

Sometimes when we talk about equality, it feels like we keep trying to “stuff” us into what we’ve always had.

BUT this old way of cohabitating never respected our differences OR the additional work – like unpaid work – which typically sits on the shoulders of women.

Isn’t it time we created something new?

Because if we are determined to overcome the biggest issues facing the world right now, that is what we need to do anyway.

I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to create a new model for humanity, and with the climate crisis reaching various tipping points, this is our chance.

BUT we need to elevate women to succeed. We can’t do it without it. Equality has NEVER been more important.

As The Digital Conversationalist, I’ve been very fortunate to work with some of the largest companies in the world, to inspire their leaders and employees on how to become social leaders with integrity.

It’s incredibly rewarding work, I love it, and I’m passionate about spreading this message beyond my clients.

To everyone here today, I encourage you to unleash your voice on social media and beyond, stand up for the issues that matter, and let’s work together to drive the change needed, inspiring others to join us.

And fellas, be #Manbassadors. Be a voice of change. Speak up on these issues from a man’s point of view. It really matters. Show your fellow men what a great man looks like.

I don’t speak up because I want to, I speak up because I feel I have to. Join me. Let’s speak up for equality and humanity. Let’s make this change happen!

I believe we can do it. I really do. Do you believe we can? Who will join me? Will you raise your voice?

–      Ends –

There you go. Thanks for your interest in reading it and let’s all get together and raise our voices for equality. It has never been more important for us to get there, but we need everyone to raise their voice and stand up for what they believe in.

This is what will change the world, and it’s also the reason for the passion behind my work – to help everyone understand the importance of rising up, because it is time to create a better world for all, and a better future for our children.

Everyone wins with equality!

Cheers

Andrea

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I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living ‘out loud’ with meaning, intention, integrity and by being true to ourselves. If you own your voice, you will own your future.

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