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Cracking the Code: International Women’s Day 2023

Sophie Poredos, Bachelor of Media and Communications

The free complimentary breakfast the corporate world hosts for International Women’s Day just aren’t going to cut it anymore. This year, I was honoured to attend an empowering event hosted by the podcast She’s on the Money with my friend, as we listened to two very inspiring female speakers and sat in a room of like-minded individual’s.

UN Women Australia decided upon the theme of ‘Cracking the Code’ for International Women’s Day and specifically through achieving ‘innovation for a gender equal future’ [1]. Through celebrating the success of women in leadership and changemaker positions, perhaps we can address the arising elephant in the room, as we are ‘300 years away from achieving gender equity’ according to the U.N. Chief [2]. Innovation greatly falls in alignment with the core values of the GLP as the two speakers present at the event engaged in social and cultural activism spanning across law, technology, and human rights.

Teela Reid, a Wiradjuri and Wailam woman presented the idea of ‘cracking the colonial code’. Her passionate speech reminded the audience of financially empowered women that whatever progress made within the world of ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ has been achieved on stolen land. Teela’s stance for systematic racism was convincing and powerful, leaving behind many names of First Nations activists within each person who attended the event. I especially enjoyed hearing her biographical recount of studying law at UNSW as one of the first Indigenous practitioners at the University of Sydney and the racism she had to endure through this title. As a soon to be published author of ‘Legally Blak’, Teela reminded the audience of our privilege to live and work off this land as she continues to advocate for the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

Melanie Tran’s experience of facing cultural barriers and stigma against disability was opened with a very impactful line, ‘When you saw me on stage what did you see first; someone with a disability or a woman?’. Melanie was crowned first as the ‘Top 100 Women of Influencer 2019’ and is an activist working within the technology sector. As the theme of the podcast of empowering women financially, Melanie reaching her financial dream to purchase an investment property as she was ultimately able to ‘crack the code’ despite her disability. Recounting the discrimination she faced against her former interactive technology teacher, Melanie gave insight into the difficulty of even graduating higher institutions with a disability as she was told they couldn’t cater to her needs. Melanie gave the crowd a window into the lives of those with a disability and all the invisible hurdles they must concur on top of ‘just being a woman’.

International Women’s Day in the corporate world is seen as an excuse to hire catering for staff lunches, order pink cupcakes and have a ‘token woman speaker’ at the workplace. But in 2023 women are fed up with having a band aid applied to their problems and given a goodie bag with a plastered smile. International Women’s Day represents so much more; it represents the desire for equity in pay, greater number of women in higher leadership positions and the addressing the sexual harassment workplace culture. Financial empowerment for women is an essential theme to International Women’s Day on top of these issues as ‘Women in Australia are 2 ½ times more likely to live in poverty in retirement than men’ according to the Superannuation Funds of Australia [3].

Attending the Intentional Women’s Day event hosted by She’s on the Money gave me a refreshing insight into what cracking the code looks like for those who have intersecting identities of culture and disability as well as facing the world as a woman. It also gave me the motivation to continuously work towards my financial goals and rewrite the narrative as a woman interested in finance and innovation. Let’s hope that 2024 International Women’s Day brings fewer corporate buffets and greater corporate pay rises.

[1] ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’, UN WOMEN AUSTRALIA,

[2] Bushard B. (2023), ‘U.N. Chief Says World Is '300 Years Away' From Gender Equity And Women's Rights Are 'Vanishing Before Our Eyes', Forbes,

[3] Karp P. (2023), ‘Women earn $1m less than men over lifetime and retire with $136,000 less super, study finds’, The Guardian,


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