International Women’s Day 2019

On International Women’s Day, the Polyglot Theatre team pays respect to all of the incredible female artists, production staff, supporters and collaborators – children and adults – who we are lucky to work with. Polyglot is powered by strong and creative women, and we are deeply committed to championing a gender-balanced arts sector in Australia. We invite our colleagues and peers to join us this #IWD2019 to help us create #BalanceForBetter.

Some Polyglot staff members reflected on what a gender-balanced world means to them.

Sue Giles AM, Artistic Director
“I passed a soccer ground on the way home last night and saw the under 9s teams out for their first practice of the season. A little girl was standing with her parents and the coach – and in that moment as I passed I could tell what was happening. She’s turned up to start learning how to play and has seen all the boys and no other girl and she is scared to join. So many young women of my acquaintance have the glorious attitude of assuming equality and raising their voices when it doesn’t occur. This is entirely admirable, but the confidence you need to assume this is often hard won and not for everyone. If gender balance is to be achieved then rights and equity have to be addressed. The little girl has every right to be there at practice but until more effort is made by the whole club to include her, understanding that she comes from a history of exclusion from ‘male’ sports, never mind how pro-active or supportive her family is, she will not last the distance, because the pressure of standing alone for your rights is too much for most. We should not have to be extraordinary, brave, or Nobel Prize winners to achieve our human right of equality.”

Viv Rosman, Executive Director
“I recently commenced the Asialink Leaders Program and a big part of the foundation week was spent drilling down into the historical contexts of Australia and our Asian neighbours. It’s no revelation of course to note that the pages of history books are filled with men, but there’s nothing like examining the recent political histories of country after country to really hammer home that, despite a handful of notable exceptions, women are absent. This speaks to many deep and complex issues that all have inequality at their heart – of access to education, healthcare, employment and safety – as well as a failure to recognise women’s contributions. So for me, a gender-balanced world would be one where women have the opportunity to fully and equally participate in every aspect of society, and one where the structural barriers currently preventing so many women from reaching their potential have been removed. I hope that by the time my nieces grow up our society will be much better at celebrating the achievements and impact of women and girls everywhere!”

Kath Fyffe, General Manager
“Thinking about the theme for International Women’s Day this year, the enormity of just how much change is needed before everyone has access to the same opportunities felt a little overwhelming. So my way of celebrating this year is to focus on the many small ways I can enact #BalanceforBetter so that my children grow into adults living in a more balanced world. For example, books like Rebel Girls that champion real life smart and formidable women are embraced at our house. So is wearing a dress to kindy if you feel like it, even though no other boys seem to be into the idea. As parents we’re deliberate in the language we use to encourage them, and love that the main parent at home looking after them has alternately been mum and dad over the years. I think we’re seeking to build familiarity with a more balanced world in the microcosm of our family in the hope that they’re confident in asking it, or demanding it, of others in the future.”

Erica Heller-Wagner, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
“The arts sector is an incredible playground of new ideas. It provides a safe place for creative people of all types to explore different ways of breaking ground. I would love to see it leading the way in creating a gender-balanced world. I want to open industry emails and see LOTS of women and gender-diverse people appointed to the Executive-level roles in arts organisations of all sizes. I want to see all of the major performing arts organisations devoting significant resources to realizing work created by, with and for women and gender-diverse people. I want to see equal numbers of men, women and gender-diverse people nominated for and receiving industry awards. It’s time for the men in this industry to make space for women and gender-diverse people to tell their own stories. When I see this change in the industry that I work in and am so very passionate about, I’ll know that society as a whole is actually on the way to a gender-balanced world.”

For more information about International Women’s Day, click here.