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If you think women are too outspoken these days, I've got news for you

November 29 2017 By Sandra Sully, JOURNALIST AND PRESENTER.

Honestly, we are just getting started.

Sandra Sully Image

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.

It's time to speak up, call out and rebel against those one in five Aussies with medieval attitudes, whoever they may be. You -- we -- are not becoming 'too outspoken'.

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.

What sort of Australia do we want to live in? What sort of relationships do we want to be a part of?Where do we want to work? Don't we all want to be part of an engaging, reflective and supportive environment?

If one person in every five doesn't want to listen, it is their loss and I for one am happy for them to wallow in their lonely isolationist existence.

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.

The one in five cannot silence you if you don't let them.

We have found our voice and, for many, it's a voice that has been silenced and belittled for too long. As women we should never stop reminding each other that our ideas and opinions matter. Our chorus is more than half the universe -- we won't be silent.

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.

Those archaic, outdated attitudes that seek to hold us back will eventually dissipate and go the way of the dinosaurs, and from their bones a gender-equal world will grow. That's a future I want for our sons and daughters.

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.

So speak up! Accept nothing less than equality. Accept nothing less than the utmost respect.

Never lower the baton handed to us by those brave souls who first spoke for the rights of women, who first raised their voices for our right to do paid work, to drive, to vote, to be heard, to be outspoken; who were -- and in some parts still are -- faced with reprisal, violence, imprisonment and death.

This is not a race where women are running against men. We are not competing. This is not a battle. We are not enemies. Gender equality benefits us all.

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.

Speak up!

Sandra Sully

This piece was orginally published by Huffington Post.


Hannah Grant, Senior Media & Communications Advisor - Projects, Our Watch: 0448 844 930 or hannah.grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”

Read guides for reporting about violence against women and their children.


Our Watch’s purpose is to raise awareness and engage policy-makers and the Australian community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.

To do this the organisation works to increase gender equality and respect in all aspects of everyday life, such as through schools; workplaces; media; sporting organisations; social marketing, and developing and influencing public policy.

Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.