Time's Up - MY EXPERIENCE

Time’s Up. It’s not a new phrase, in fact, it’s been a central point of conversation for the past few months.

Nothing makes me happier than to see women supporting women. For myself, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by incredibly strong, powerful and hardworking females my whole life. The balance is tough, there’s always an obstacle, but they’ve proved that they can do anything.  

I may only be 24 and in the grand scheme of things this example is like talking about pennies, but by 20, I’d already experienced pay disparity between myself and a male co-worker, and four years on, my mere experience still upsets me.

 Surround yourself with strong and empowering women that always support you 

Surround yourself with strong and empowering women that always support you 

I had just come back from seven months overseas and had started my new degree to become a journalist. I had no money, didn’t know what I wanted to do, had no experience to work in the field, but I was trained to work with kids. After seeing a position vacant as a school hockey coach I applied as I loved the sport and still play it to this day. The job was at one of Sydney’s most elite schools – I won’t name it – but put it this way, the Harbour Bridge is their backdrop.

Soon enough, I was introduced to my co-coach where he played a goalie and I was trained on the field – the perfect coaching balance I thought. Not trying to be vein or anything, but the kids loved me and didn’t like him one bit – and I don’t blame them. He never showed up, never even took the time to learn their names and when he did rock up on the odd occasion would just sit on the grass and watch me work.

Yes, it was frustrating, but I thought, at least I can do things all my way and at least I’m deserving of those dollars - that was until I found out how much he was earning for doing absolutely nothing. Sport coaching pays well, I was making $25 an hour which I was stoked about – he, however, same age as me was on $40. Had he ever coached before? No. Had I coached before? Yes. Was he being paid even on the sessions he never came to? Yes. But what was I to do, complain and lose my job? At the end of the day, it was my word against his and although I know I wasn’t the only female this was happening to, we decided to just let it slide.

 So lucky to have such a strong, wise and inspirational mum 

So lucky to have such a strong, wise and inspirational mum 

And that right there is the thing. What do you do? And why are we scared to stand up for what we deserve? I’m not here to say women are better than men and deserve more, but assuming we’re as qualified, we deserve nothing less than equal! As a 20-year-old who just needed a job, I just sat back and let it go. Today however, if I was to ever see this sort of inequality again, I hope I’d have the courage to stand up for my rights not just for me but for the sisterhood relying on us all around the world.

The past couple of years I’ve also been lucky enough to work under former E! News host Catt Sadler and contribute to parts of her blog and connected CATTWALK social accounts. It’s honestly been the best experience of my life, but I’ve never felt as proud as I did late last year.

I really urge you to click here to read her essay on why she left E! Heads up, pay disparity. Catt had been employed the same amount of time as a her male co-host, was working on double the amount of shows each day and yet was being paid nearly 50% less. 50! Yes, 50! How anyone can deem that as fair – I don’t know. But it’s one thing to talk the talk and say you support movement’s like Time’s Up etc. but it’s a whole other thing to walk the walk. And walk she did. I’ve honestly never felt more moved in my life when I watched it all unfold.

 thecattwalk.com

thecattwalk.com

But somehow, unfortunately, the person who walks still seems to be the one who ends up losing. Catt walked away from a job that she still genuinely loved to support and stand up for the sisterhood. But the next day came, the sun still rose and the organisation continued to thrive. It’s just not fair to me and I hope and pray in time this changes as big people and the companies they own need to be reminded that they too can fall and crumble, they’re not immune to the repercussions of treating people unjustly and shouldn’t be able to just get away with it. As for Catt, of course there’s not an inch of doubt in my mind that bigger and better things will only come her way – just be patient, you’ve got this girl!

This brings me to the big Time’s Up movement which has been vastly seen amongst celebrities at various red carpets over the past few weeks. At the Golden Globes, stars wore black and at The Grammy Awards, artists added white roses to their ensembles.

It’s no secret that formally top producers, presenters, actors and directors such as Harvey Weistein and Matt Lauer have been central to many reported sexual harassment encounters over the past thirty years and the stories and accusations continue to flow in each day. Speak up girls, speak up.  

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I’m so proud of women as a group in this moment in time. We’re starting to finally find our voices and speak our truth. We should feel proud, we should feel free and we should all feel safe enough to say no when things are wrong, and yes when things are right - we will not be silenced anymore. Yes, it’s taken up until now for a snowballing effect to come into place for us to dig deep in search of our confidence to speak up, but I just know, this just the beginning.

I also want to take a moment to remind everyone that women’s rights is not a hate crime towards men. There are so many great guys in the world that support us and are helping us find the confidence and our voices to stand up for equality and justice for all – and we need to remember to say thank-you for that.

But in this moment, I raise my glass to all the women out there, you’ve got this, you really do.

Annita xx

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