A lot can happen in a decade. Ten years ago, I was blissfully living my life firmly entrenched in the DINK category (dual incomes, no kids), with not much of a care in the world if I recall. I now have a three-year-old daughter, which brings an altogether different sort of bliss; and becoming a mother to a girl has brought some pretty sobering societal issues front and centre. Take the pink princess thing – there is nothing intrinsically wrong with either, but the behemoth marketing behind this hyper-feminine concept backed by multi-billions of dollars, training its sights with laser precision on what now appears to qualify as an official developmental phase – first crawling, then walking, then the singular desire to wear something pink and sparkly – feels far from natural and not like a choice.
These proscriptive aspects of society are nothing short of frightening when you consider – with bedazzled toddler in tow – the wider and longer-term ramifications of such hyper-gendered stereotyping, feeding ultimately into a blanketed loss of equality down the track. And all things pink and sparkly are only the tip of the iceberg. One thing is clear though; if the unprecedented size of the Women’s March in 2017 and the momentum gathered by the recent #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are anything to go by, we are stronger when we work together – mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, colleagues, friends – and you, dear readers; not to mention outstanding leaders such as Helen Clark, featured in this issue, who have made it their mandate to champion the empowerment of women and pave the way for others to step up and lead. Yes, it is something as simple as solidarity that can help to create change on a bigger scale. Ten years ago, you might also have needed to subscribe to a dedicated feminist publication to access the sort of incisive cultural commentary on gender issues that now, thankfully, inhabits pretty much every media platform.
It is gratifying that M2woman, as of our tenth anniversary since claiming “women” as our demographic back in 2008, has hit its stride with the likes of our nationwide Journey to Excellence forums, designed to draw us together on the topic of shaping not only the way business thinks about women but also society more widely. In taking a pause at this decade-long juncture on this journey of creating content and inviting discussion that covers the breadth, in we hope true measure, of what it means to be a woman today, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and engagement without which our humble publication simply wouldn’t be. It has been a privilege to be a part of what is now undeniably a global dialogue in the elevation and amplification of women’s voices and issues. And the momentum that has gathered towards reaching that lofty critical mass for gender equality over the last ten years will only serve to inform and be critical to the battles of the next ten years and so on. No, there is nothing wrong with pink, sparkly princesses, but there is SO MUCH MORE to us than that.