We’re only 6 months in and this year, and let’s just call it for what it is… Tough…. We’ve spent a lot of our time in lockdown, we’ve spent even more time trying to navigating the ‘new norm’ and guilty as charged, we’ve drunk too much wine. But as all the uncertainty took over Australia what we realised here at Stella is that women have continued to show up, glowed up and blow us away with their unwavering ability to keep going, stay focused and drive change. We’re championing young women across the country be it through their work, side hustle or unwavering support for their communities and cheering them on with a nod to their incredible achievements.
Hold onto your wines glasses ladies, it’s time to get inspired.
First up is Teela Reid, who is a criminal defence lawyer, an activist, and a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman. Teela who started her career as a teacher, moved into law as she felt a pressing sense of obligation to her people. Reid now uses her legal skills to fight back against the systematic oppression of First Nations People and is now one of Australia’s leading voices in the fight for constitutional recognition, which she says is at a frustratingly early stage, in that Australia still does not recognise First Nations people in its foundational document.
“Western education has not always been ready for Black women to speak their truth.” – Teela Reid
In 2020 Teela was awarded the UNSW Young Achiever for her contributions to the community, her advocacy as a working group leader on s 51(xxvi), the Race Power, which culminated the Uluru Statement from the Heart and led to the most historic call for a First Nations Voice. Teela was also recognised for her work as a key thinker and leading advocate behind the Walama Court, a proposal to establish an Aboriginal sentencing court at the NSW District Court jurisdiction.
We have nothing but massive respect and love for this warrior and worth noting just as this blog went live we saw that for the first time in Australian history, more than half of Australian lawyers are women (53% to be exact). It’s the first time female practitioners have outnumbered men in all states and territories. Did someones say GIRL POWER?!
Follow Teela’s journey in pictures here @teelareid
Isobel Marshall & Eloise Hall
Isobel and Eloise were just about to enter their final year in high school when they were introduced to the realities of period poverty around the world – it’s C-R-A-Z-Y to think in 2021, in many cultures, women are disadvantaged because of their monthly period. When Isobel and Eloise started researching period poverty, they were shocked to discover that 30% of girls in developing countries would drop out of school as soon as they got their period or left to become child brides with a lack of financial independence. Often with no option but to be swallowed up by the relentless poverty cycle. The women learnt that when pads are unaffordable or inaccessible, dirty kitchen sponges, mattress ripping’s and even organic matter like sawdust are used to soak up the blood.
In countries with a high prevalence of female genital mutilation, these unhygienic alternatives can pose huge infection risk and subsequent health and fertility complications. It Isobel to ask the question “Why was such a normal part of life leading to such catastrophic outcomes for uterus owners around the world?” and perhaps more importantly, “why was no one talking about it”?
Fast forward five years and after working tirelessly to crowdfund $56,000 Isobel and Eloise’s non-for-profit enterprise TABOO was launched. Taboo is a brand of certified organic cotton pads and tampons with customers around the country who are passionate about eradicating global period poverty and challenging the stigma around menstruation. The Taboo pay it forward program encourages customers to subscribe to Taboo’s pads on behalf of a woman in Australia who need it. They advocate, educate and campaign to spark positive intersectional conversation around menstruation between people from all walks of life; all genders, backgrounds, religions and cultures.
At just 22, 2021 Isobel was awarded 2021 Australian of the Year in recognition of her work to fight period poverty abroad, and menstrual stigma at home. Her mission to eradicate period poverty and supporting women around the world makes her pretty Stella to us.
The girls have recently had to change their Instagram name, so show your support and follow them here @taboosanitaryproducts
Last but certainly not least, meet Yasmin Poole.
A writer, public speaker and youth activist. In 2018, Yasmin was a 19-year-old youth activist working on a research piece that examined 2000 young Australian women’s aspirations for the future. Of those aged 18-25, 0 per cent listed politics as a future career option. Poole told the SMH “I mean, could you blame them? These were the same young women who had seen our first female Prime Minister bullied for the fact she didn’t have children and ridiculed for her ‘big arse’, she was then pushed from power – which women would want to follow that political nightmare? This instead, ignited a passion in Yasmin that has led her on a journey to unpack exactly what did happen to Julia Gillard when she was our Prime Minister? Now at just 22, Yasmin is the non-executive board director of food rescue charity OzHarvest and YWCA with a double degree in law and international relations.
She was the inaugural chair of the Victorian government’s Youth Congress, which advises the government on youth policy, and speaks at forums such as APEC and the G20. In 2019 she was listed in both the 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian Australians and the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence. This year, Yasmin won the global Youth Influencer of the Year award from the US-based King Centre, which honours the legacy of Martin Luther King it was here that she used the platform to talk about all the young women of colour, especially in Australia, who are pushing for change.
In June last year, during a discussion on Q&A about whether the government had favoured men in its response to COVID-19, Ms Poole crisply suggested to fellow panellists and government minister Paul Fletcher that it “just goes to show there are not enough women in your party”.
Yasmin believes that Australia is facing “a moment of accountability”, and in a time when Australian politics couldn’t need it more, we vote for Yasmin!
Stay up to date with Yasmin here @yasmin.poole