Author: Iris Lammertink
This evening was by women for women. It was organised by the lovely Jo-Anne Godden, who you may know from Ruby Moon - ethical and sustainable swim and activewear, and Nina Emett, who you may know from her organisation PhotoDocument. There were many inspiring persons attending. There were writers, photographers, DJs, activists, and many more diverse women. Most of them had one thing in common. They work, in their own way, to one goal: making the world a better place by working towards a more social and environmentally friendly society.
The evening started off with drinks at the bar, and not many people were there yet, when I arrived. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and slowly more people came in and started chatting with one another as time went by. After a good while, when everyone was provided with a drink, the main part of the evening started. The dinner. Everyone moved up a level in the bar, and we all got two cards: a card with a skill that an attendee had donated, and a card with a quirky fact about someone in the room.The point of the evening was to find out from whom the fact was, and trade or keep the donated skill.
When everyone was seated, Jo-Anne and Nina started off with a presentation about their businesses and why it is so important that they do what they do. Jo-Anne presented how Ruby-moon is a company that makes swimwear out of ghost fishing nets and does not use toxins amongst other harmful materials. Ruby Moon’s products are ethically made and are not just good for the environment because they have an environmentally friendly production but are also helping to solve the problem of ocean pollution. Furthermore, they invest in women across the world with micro loans. Something that really made me think was the phrase:
‘’Women in the west will change the world’’
This resonated with me, because I realised that by being a western woman, I have money that I can spend. This means that I have the power to support other women with that, by spending it wisely and considerately on products. The consumer has a lot of power on what the world will look like in the future. In the meantime, a delicious vegan starter was served of spaghetti Bolognese with a touch of lime.
The second speaker was Nina, who presented how FotoDocument makes positive impacts. She explained that photography and visual imagery can be a powerful communication tool to inspire active global citizenship. She tries to showcase positive solutions to environmental problems worldwide, which then can help people engage with and understand the effect of global problems. One of the things the organisation does is supporting talented female photographers with funds. She spoke about how: ‘’only 7% of directors are female. This results in having a male’s perspective on most things represented in the media’’ Since I have learned in my communication course at Deusto University, Spain, that the media is very powerful in shaping people's minds, it is important to take this fact into consideration regarding equality. If we want equality between genders, we need to start telling stories from female perspectives too. That is why Nina believes in, and supports positive stories made by women.
After these inspiring presentations, it was time for dinner. However, before starting to eat, everyone was encouraged to change seats so that new conversations could be started with new people. The dinner that was served looked beautiful and was entirely vegan as well. It was mashed potato with kale, and a tasty meat and gravy substitute.
After chatting and eating for a while, it was time for dessert.
While eating dessert, it was time for the attending women to speak about what they do in their professional life, in 2 minutes. There were many inspiring pitches of overcoming barriers, illnesses, and inequality, but also stories of success. The atmosphere was enthusiastic, and we were all rooting for everyone who stood up and spoke. The topics that came by were breast cancer, refugees, disability, deforestation, being a female entrepreneur, and many more. We ended with some networking time and exchanging skills and quirky facts.
This dinner made me realise that there are so many women out there making positive impacts while making a living and being financially independent. We just do not see them as often in the spotlight. The main takeaway for me is that women are just as capable to bring positive change, while doing business, as men, and we could use that as an advantage to bring positive change for the world faster! When only half of the population is participating, things take longer to get done, and we are running out of time.
Dr David Greenfield