International Women’s Day, a day that not only celebrates women and their achievements but also a day to reflect on what we as an international society need to do to create a more equal system that is fair for future generations. Did you know that 1 in 3 women worldwide will experience some sort of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime? Another big issue are the gender pay gaps between men and women that no country is immune to.
Moving forward, what can we do to close in the gap and divide between men and women? Firstly, recognising that there is an issue is a start and being vocal about change is also another. That’s why days like these are important because they not only unite us but also educate.
Andriana & Adriana answer a few questions about female inspirations, womanhood and what changes they’d like to see in Croatian society.
Who is your female inspiration?
ADRIANA – In London, I had a wonderful woman I really looked up to in my life, Anna Quick Palmer who is a true lobbyist for women’s rights and philanthropist. She has developed many businesses that connect women with one another and also focuses on giving back to those in need, particularly in under developed countries such as Africa.
ANDRIANA – My mum, Danica is a woman who keeps surprising me every day. No matter what is happening, she will find a quick and succesful solution. Fast reactions and strong mind, always one step ahead. Not only that, she has a nice career as a teacher but she is also writing books that are additional materials for certain classes and organises special events in school that add more value to the community.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai
Who is your favorite international female author?
ADRIANA – Teal Swan. She hit my radar last year as I was “awakening” and completely changed the way I treated myself. Her book, Shadows Before Dawn, really opened me up to facing my trauma and dealing with it the way I never have.
ANDRIANA – The Fashion Stylist’s handbook by Danielle Griffiths seemed like an easy read but when I came to the final pages, I noticed how the fashion industry treats and objectifies women all over the world. It was interesting to see how we are exposed to images and commercials yet they are all far from real. And so many people admire them. It takes courage to put it all in 200pages, especially if you are a part of the industry and trying to make a change.
What do you think the biggest global feminist issue is?
ADRIANA – I’ll give three and two out of these three I have experienced, domestic violence, sex trafficking and the rape culture.
ANDRIANA – Being objectified. Maybe it doesn’t sound as the biggest problem but it is the most common one and it is where all the bigger problems begin to appear. The way guys look at us is sometimes so embarrasing. I was working as a waitress in few different bars and what I had to listen to and experience every day was just tasteless. People feel that if they leave you extra 0,5€, they own you.
If you could pick a woman from any culture to talk to, which culture would you pick?
ADRIANA – I am deeply fascinated by the women from my own country, Croatia. I understand that many have been victims of horrendous sex crimes during the war and are still suffering in silence. One day in Croatia, I’d love to build a rehabilitation centre and program to help female victims of sex crimes & domestic violence to regain their inner strength.
ANDRIANA – I respect everyone and have a big a interest in learning about different cultures but eastern culture is currently the most interesting to me. I would love to see how women are treated there because I don’t like to believe in the stories.
If there was dancing in the streets to celebrate International Women’s Day, what cheesy song would you dance to?
ADRIANA – Grown Women, Beyonce.
ANDRIANA – Girls just wanna have fun, Cyndi Lauper
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
ADRIANA – I watched The Suffragettes when it first came out in London and it really opened up my eyes and knowledge on the historical progress of women in society and sadly, in some cultures women still don’t have basic rights such as the right to vote or drive a car. International Women’s Day is a day I celebrate and am grateful for all my female friends, from all countries because I believe that united we can really make an impact and difference in this world to create a better one for the girls of tomorrow.
ANDRIANA – If you find the right partner, women’s day is every day. When I see how my dad is with my mum, I just wish the same for myself.
“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey
What changes would you love to see in Croatia that will help women become more confident to pursue a career and be independent?
ADRIANA – Fortunately, Croatian culture places great emphasis on school so most girls do have an education, the problem is after they complete their degrees, many struggle to find jobs within the country and are either unemployed for prolonged periods of time or never use their degree. The women are qualified but the jobs simply aren’t there, it is an economic issue unfortunately. One thing I know we all have some sort of role to play in, is a more encouraging an empathetic environment. I’d love to see women in Croatia collaborate with one another more than they compete. We are united by our struggles, divided by our quest for appearing perfect to the world around us. Let’s stop selling this illusion to the younger generation.
ANDRIANA – Women are still afraid of doing something by themselves. Be more brave, be more decisive, tell people what you really think and never stop dreaming because if you work hard enough, dreams do and will come true. I have experienced a big discrimination not only as a woman but as a 19-year-old female. It took me a little more courage to do something BIG but it was all worth it.