One of the most wonderful things about humanity is our ability to step up for ourselves, and for each other.
2017 was exhausting. It was frustrating. It was one step away from feeling like the whole world was ablaze and we were all arguing over who lit the fire or which fire was most threatening.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed into inaction. Yet time and again people stepped up for their fellow humans, for the environment, for our shared values and for love, kindness and tolerance.
We want to go into 2018 with a sense of momentum and unity and an understanding that while change can be painstakingly slow, it is happening and we’re driving it, bit-by-bit.
For the majority of Australians, the moment that marriage equality passed through our parliament was a beautiful, unifying example of people coming together from a place of love and compassion and making history. It certainly wasn’t without its frustration at the harm and waste that came before that point. But bipartisan support displayed in parliament in that moment was wonderful to see.
We need to celebrate more moments like that. So here are some from all over the world to have you pumping your fists and stomping your feet that change is happening and that a group of passionate, powerful, loving, talented and compassionate people are driving it – including you.
None of these wins comes without ‘buts’. Outlawing child marriage and rape laws is different to changing cultural norms that enable them to still take place. Movements can leave behind those who are most marginalised and amplify the voices that are loudest rather than those that need to be heard. A trial by social media can set a worrying precedent. There is nuance and complexity.
But we need to start celebrating wins. We need to do so inclusively, not combatively. Because to win doesn’t have to mean someone else loses. Yes, we’re shifting power, and some people will lose their privileges. But for the vast majority of us, when that power shift changes, we all benefit. Whether it’s better relationships between partners, a happier, more productive workplace, communities where women are educated and empowered to help fight poverty or less conflict and polarisation globally. Equality is a better world, for all.
Let’s take that 2017 momentum and make 2018 the year where we work together to raise more voices, drive more discussions and hold ourselves to be more compassionate and more understanding, to embrace nuance and complexity and the opportunities they bring to listen and learn. Let’s be all that we need to be for girls, young women and marginalised people all over the world so that they can drive the change that will make the world a safer, fairer place for everyone.