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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

August 14, 2022
| Womens Advocacy

Founder's Weekly 4th Mar 2022: Women at the front of Ukrainian resistance and how YOU have the power to change the world

Ukraine’s First Lady sends a message of support to women who are the face of the resistance, plus how your voice and your dollar matters right now

Dear remarkable community,

Sometimes, we just must hang on and hope, especially as we endure a time of global conflict and climate change disaster.

Watching our sisters and brothers in Ukraine suffer the loss of life and home, as well as experiencing or seeing the unprecedented floods devastating the east coast of Australia, makes it easy to feel helpless and hopeless. 

At the same time, it’s important to realise that your voice counts.

It is you and I who have the political, social and financial power to impact change and to reach out to others in our community, our nation and our globe.

How we vote, how we network and how we spend and invest our money can help dramatically alter the future of the world.  

How powerful is it that together we are strong and we can be heard.

This is a message we all need to take to heart as we look towards a brighter future. 

As war rages, Ukraine’s First Lady speaks out to women of the frontline 

As images of the attack against Ukraine continue to shock the world, the country’s First Lady has paid tribute to the women she says have become the face of the resistance against Russian forces. 

First Lady Olena Zelensky used her Instagram account to salute the women on the frontline and in the community.

“To those who fight…to those who heal, save, feed,” she wrote in the caption supporting a series of photos of brave Ukrainian women on the frontline. 

“And to those who continue to do their usual job – in pharmacies, shops, on transport, in utilities, so that life lasts and wins.

“To those who take children to shelters every day without panic and entertain them with games and cartoons to save children’s consciousness from war.

“To those who give birth in bomb storage.”

Ukraine has two million more women than men, something she said means that the resistance has a very female face.

“My admiration and bow to you, incredible compatriots!” she wrote, ending on the optimistic note that “everything will be spring, everything will be victory, everything will be Ukraine!”

Olena had previously told her followers that she would remain calm and confident for her family and the country. 

As we go about our lives in relative safety in Australia, it is hard to imagine what it is like for these women who are trying to stay strong in this crisis while their own lives and that of their loved ones is under threat.

Many of those who have been able to escape to safety have been separated from their husbands, who have been forced to remain in Ukraine to fight. 

In fact, Ukraine’s emergency services have estimated that nearly 2000 citizens have so far died, among them women and children. 

You can donate to those in Ukraine if you are looking for a way to help.

But there is also a way you can help protest against the invasion by Russia. Read more in our next story. 

You can impact war, inequality and climate change with your dollar 

We often think our voices are small in the face of devastating conflicts, inequality and the dramatic impact of climate change.

This is especially true when we are a long way from a crisis, but feel deeply affected by it because multimedia brings us all the news of our sisters and brothers suffering.

But I know that, together, we can be heard loud and clear. 

One way to make sure your voice is powerful is to think about where your money is invested. 

You have a right to know how your superannuation is invested and, indeed, you should seek this information from your fund.

Currently, a push is underway to dump holdings in Russian assets with Australian industry superannuation giant Aware Super divesting a $50 million Russian investment portfolio.

However, The AFR reported this week that AustralianSuper, the country’s largest super fund, “has invested at least $80 million of members’ money in three Russian oil and gas companies with close links to the Kremlin: Gazprom, Lukoil and Rosneft”.

I sincerely hope that this is currently under review and that other superannuation funds are considering withdrawing funds invested in Russian assets.

Going forward, other ethical issues you may like to consider in relation to how your superannuation funds are being used include funds that invest in companies who use women or children for cheap labour, who are oblivious to animal welfare, or who make profits from businesses who are heavy polluters. 

Of course looking at a company’s social impact – does it support racial or gender equality in its staffing or management – is also key to ethical investing. 

We all have power to affect change by letting our money speak.

Floods hit the most vulnerable

As floodwaters slowly begin to dissipate across Australia’s east coast, relief agencies say it could take months, or years, for many communities to recover.

The hardest hit will be the most vulnerable, including low-income workers who have no home insurance, a disproportionate amount of them women.

For families, the loss of clothing, schoolbooks and equipment, toys, and, of course, bedding and furniture, could also prove financially crippling.

Many men and women have also been unable to attend workplaces or, because of loss of communications including the internet, unable to work. 

My heart goes out to everyone affected by these floods, something that weather forecasters are already saying will become more and more common unless there is drastic action on climate change. 

You can urge your local MP to support measures that help the environment, as well as reduce the impact of global warming by the products you buy.

Here’s 10 ways you can help reduce climate change

If you would like to help flood victims, donations to St Vincent de Paul will go towards food supplies and other essentials as well as helping families move back home, and replacing damaged furniture.

Crisis support is available from Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Almost time to #BreakTheBias this International Women’s Day 

Remarkable community, like you, I am really looking forward to celebrating International Women’s Day 2022 next week and sharing stories, words of encouragement and perspectives on breaking the biases in each others’ company.

In-person tickets to our breakfast with Dr Jana Pittman, Tracey Spicer AM and Aminata Conteh-Biger are now sold out but you can still join us online and #BreakTheBias!

Plus we’ve secured one online ticket-holder a game-changing prize - a @remarkable tablet worth $500AUD!

So, before we all join together, here’s what IWD is all about

Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

A world where together we forge equality, for all women.

Stay safe and stay connected,
Shivani

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