Self-Determination and Power

My grandfather Nicholas Brogan was a remarkable man for many reasons. He was a farmer, an inventor + a forward thinking man with a very big heart. Plus Nicholas was utterley devoted to his wife Bridget and six children.

His forward thinking was demonstrated during World War Two. Nicholas moved his family to Sydney, whilst everyone else was moving to the country. Why? Because he wanted his three daughters to have employment opportunities other than the limited domestic service work available in the country.

Nicholas wanted his daughters to have choices. To actualise their potential. To find a life that is theirs.

Fast forward 60 or so years later, most of us living in the West, take a woman’s autonomy, self-determination and her right to work for granted.

Can you imagine your life without the right of self-determination?

  • My first selection for GlobalWoman February’s Round-Up speaks to a woman’s right for self-determination when it intersects with patriarchal social order. It tells the story of two Indian women, Premwati and Geeta, facing strict caste rules and centuries of traditions as they seek work and a degree of financial autonomy. Tweet This
  • Khaldiya is 17 years old and a Syrian refugee who arrived at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan three years ago. Her family left their village in the region of Syria where the revolution began, after the area was bombed. Khaldiya’s mother and six younger siblings have suddenly became eight of theworld’s 4.5 million Syrian refugees, and have been living with 80,000 of them in the Za’atari camp ever since.

Click here to watch Khaldiya’s nearly 10 minute video of life inside the refugee camp.

  • Marie Kondo and her decluttering philosophy are having a moment right now. The author of two books, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’and ‘Spark Joy’, Marie invites us to live a life of serenity and joy, without clutter. As part of her decluttering process Marie asks you to ask the question, ‘Does this bring you joy?’

It’s a philosophy I use when making daily decisions. Does this doing this bring me joy? If not, how can I make this task joyous? Sometimes the mere act of completion is joy itself. Book-keeping, I’m talking about you.


This 1.43 minute video where Marie transforms Vogue editor Chloe Malle’s wardrobe is touching, sweet and oh so relatable. Tweet This

  • During my India seeker phase, I was on a meditation retreat at a beautiful hill station in India. It wasn’t an austere retreat but rather held at an Indian style resort with all of the participant’s Westerners. Meals were served buffet style, with plentiful delicious Indian and western food. After about two days, the manager of the resort came to address us – essentially he asked us to take only enough food for us to eat, instead of taking too much food and leaving waste. In India, food is NOT wasted; the resort staff were shocked at how most retreat participants would unconsciously pile their plate with the food they couldn’t possibly eat. What shocked me was that most of the attendees didn’t change their behaviour. They didn’t know their ‘enough’.

In a society that encourages mindless consumption this initaitive from Komal Ahmad brings me endless joy. Komal has a plan – and an app – to end hunger in America. Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Copia, an online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need. She’s called it the Uber of food donation.

Miss Marvel. BatGirl. Scarlet Witch. Moon Girl. KAPOW.
  • The big business of comics has been tradionally a very male domain. The past 12 months have seen serious KAPOW with the emergence of female super heroines created by women. At Marvel, women make up about a third of the editorial staff – click here to meet three of the real-life superwomen of Marvel Comics.
  • Can Beyoncé have it both ways? I recognise that Beyonce is either love or loathe yet looking beyond personal opinions, she embraces perfect timing and her influence to bring attention to issues bigger than her.

February saw Beyoncé release Formation, where her radicalism is both overt and implicit — she knows that creatively drawn statements of black identity and pride are as powerful as any direct social-political statement.

The Woman Who Walked For 1,000 Days To Australia From Siberia
  • Sarah Marquis, a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2014, spent 1,000 days and 1,000 nights walking from Australia to Siberia starting in 2010. She went through eight pairs of heavy walking boots, carried almost 70 pounds on her back and encountered wild animals, severe weather and less-than-well-intentioned humans.

Asked why she undertook the journey, Sarah’s reply was:

Five ways tech is crowdsourcing women’s empowerment
  • Since 2001 Kristin Davis has worked with Oxfam and UNHCR but doesn’t see herself as a humanitarian, but as a witness. Tweet This

Kristin was recently in Australia for UNHCR, a not-for-profit which raises funds to provide life changing support for displaced and stateless people. Impressively, the Australian arm of UNHCR raises the most funds to support these areas of any country in the word — a fact that impressed Davis given Australia’s relatively small population and lengthy distance from these crisis areas.

Other facts include: 

  1. 40 percent of rapes happen when women and children venture out in search for food
  2. 80 percent of displaced people and refugees are women and children.

Leave a comment as to who inspired you in February to explore self-determination, strength and power.

Kathryn x

No Comments

Post a Comment