To every woman and girl in Australia,
You may have seen the news last Friday that one fifth of the inhabitants of our unquestionably modern country are of the quaint view that we -- females -- are becoming 'too outspoken'.
I hope that sentence plays out in your mind's ear in the voice of infamous grumpy Muppets, Statler and Waldorf (those two old hecklers on the balcony). Maybe it prompts you to laugh out loud dismissively. Perhaps even harrumph.
But if the news resonates and strikes a chord, manages to get under your skin or stuck in your throat, if it has sunk to the pit of your stomach or is right now boiling in your veins, then this letter is for you. And I'm here to ask a favour.
Honestly, we are just getting started.
In fact, I'd say, for the sake of our daughters, sisters, husbands and sons, it's our duty to speak up and put an end to these antiquated attitudes.
So here is my appeal to you, women and girls. Speak up and as loudly as you can. Let your mighty voice reign over boardrooms and ring out across playing fields, set it free on the stage, let it loose in front of cameras and let it barrel down the corridors of power.
Every time you speak out about equality and fairness, your voice is helping to weave a more equal and just and fair society. So don't temper your opinions, embrace them.
Don't let people tell you you're bossy. Instead, keep on being a leader and fight for change.
Don't shy from the limelight or hide your light under a bushel. Instead, shine it brightly and proudly and pave the way for others to shine theirs.
Don't listen to those who suggest you're being hysterical. What's hysterical is their reaction.
Don't let anyone value your body over your incredible mind.
Because of the relentless campaigns from organisations like Our Watch, I know that with more gender equality comes less discrimination and violence against women and children. Sexist jokes, attitudes and behaviours create a culture where violence against women flourishes.
Research shows that gender-equal teams make better decisions and are more effective.
Research shows that businesses with gender-equal, diverse boards and senior management are more profitable.
Research shows that when men have access to, and take, parental leave, both workplaces and families reap the rewards.
So, speak and be counted. Speak until your voice is raspy. Speak until all Australians speak with you. Until zero out of five Australians think you're too outspoken, and five out of five stop what they're doing and listen.
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