#ChooseToChallenge This International Women’s Day

Written by Jennie Sager

Everyday, we see our female neighbours around the world helping one another in a myriad of ways. Just this week,  I met a Nextdoor member in Newport, NSW  who has started a coffee club to help her meet new people. From setting up social groups to sharing business ideas, women are opening their hearts and minds to offer support to each other, and to every neighbour. 

The theme for International Women’s (IWD) day this year is ‘Choose To Challenge’. 

The  decree this year states that,  “A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.”

It’s such a great message that fits perfectly with our mission of creating a welcoming platform for all neighbours and cultivating a kinder world where everyone has a neighbourhood to rely on.   

This special day of the year is also a day to reflect on the women that inspire us, at home and at work.  I am so thankful to work at a female-led company alongside our CEO, Sarah Friar, our Head of Marketing, Maryam Banakarim, and our Head of Revenue, Heidi Andersen. 

Today, I’d like to give a special shout-out to all of the strong and inspiring neighbours we see around the world. 

Denise is a Nextdoor member in Murrumbeena – her 26-year old son,  Ben,   was born with an inoperable brain tumour, and as a result, was profoundly deaf at birth and speaks with a severe speech impediment. During Covid lockdown,  Ben lost all his residual hearing and is now fully deaf.  Ben is  strong Nextdoor lead in the area as he knows everyone and everyone knows him. Building community is  one of his greatest passions. He has epilepsy and tunnel vision, all due to the developmental brain tumour that occurs in 1 in 1000 births.  As his Super Mum Denise tells us ”Despite Ben’s medical issues, he is a real people person and has a strong sense of community and ‘helping’ others. “ 

Many years ago Denise made sure the whole family got on the front foot to learn Auslan in case Ben did lose his hearing one day – her forward thinking means the whole family gets to keep on talking! This International Women’s Day we salute you Denise!

A Group with Heart 

Anne is from the Northern Beaches in NSW –  these days she is a life coach and runs her own company training mindfulness and meditation teachers.  Her son was killed four decades ago, and through her journey of recovery, she discovered many forms of resilience training including meditation.  She posted on Nextdoor to see if people would like a lesson at her home – not to drum up business, but just to connect and to meet some locals.  Anne was overwhelmed by the response, and had ten Nextdoor neighbours laying on the floor in Shavasana the following Thursday!

Anne now runs a class each Thursday just for ladies. 

Portraits to Ease Pain 

A professional artist, Margaret, in St. Petersburg, Florida was experiencing burnout in her work and needed something to put meaning back into her paintings. She posted on Nextdoor to see if anyone in her community would like a memorial portrait of loved ones lost due to COVID-19 at no cost and immediately saw an outpour of responses. So, she went to work and painted over 40 memorial portraits for people in her community since October. Margaret shared, “It’s been extremely heartwarming and the feedback I’ve received from my community has been remarkable!” She plans on continuing her pro bono project and even mobilizes other artists around the US to give back to their community in the same way.

Emily Gave Up Her Vaccine Appointment To Help a Sick Neighbour 

 68-year-old Emily had spent hours calling around Austin in hopes of getting a covid vaccine before flying to Cleveland for open heart surgery. When none of her doctors could help her get an appointment soon enough, she decided to post a plea on Nextdoor to ask if anyone had suggestions. Immediately, a neighbour she had never met sent a message to offer that Emily take her place for her vaccine appointment the next morning! Emily shares, “It is heart-warming to know there are truly wonderful people in our midst who give to others with no expectations of anything in return.” See the full story in The Washington Post here.

These stories of women raising one another up inspires me every day – Together when we see injustice and inequality,  let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.

Go to the IWD site to download resources.

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