Never has there been a more pivotal time for young women in Australia and globally. I’ve been inspired and called to action by the momentum of a world-wide shift to contribute to the empowerment of the young women growing up in our community. Thus I created I AM the dragon— a workshop for high school young women to build strength and resilience within themselves. The next workshop will be Sunday 8th July, 1pm-4pm.
In 2017 the #TimesUp / #MeToo movement, which began back in 2006 when Tarana Burke—an African American civil rights activist called out the prevalence of sexual assault and abuse against women, had a resurgence.
You don’t have to look too far to see young women holding their own on the world stage. I’ve been witnessing young women such as Emma Gonzalez stand on stage in her courageous rage speak out against gun violence in schools. Locally, Tahmina Ansari came to Australia as a young refugee from Afghanistan, and was the first woman in a hijab to report for the ABC on television. And the visibility of young Indigenous women such as Nakkiah Lui, who writes and performs for the ABC television show, Black Comedy.
And it’s not just about what’s happening externally in the world for young women. It’s also about their internal environment, the rise in: stress, anxiety, depression, self harm, and addiction. It’s the fact that our young women are feeling more isolated despite (and perhaps because of) social media.
All of this had me thinking, are the young women in my local community understanding how to tap into their own sense of POWER, how to hold their own SPACE, are they finding their VOICE? How did I learn these things as a young woman? I reflected on my struggles, my lessons and my guides and began to form the most beautiful workshop based on the Chakara System.
I grew up marching the streets with my mother as we sang songs to ‘Reclaim The Night/Take Back The Night’. The first ever protest I recall attending (I’m sure there was many before this!) was for the right to our own body; for the reproductive rights of women so that backyard abortions become a thing of the past. I can still see the logo and what it meant for women of all ages with little choice— a coat hanger.
I grew up understanding that feminism wasn’t a dirty word, that it was something that would benefit ALL genders and sexes. That my mother was a feminist. That my father was a feminist.
I knew that my body was my own and I was in charge of it. I knew that the bullies and unkind people I faced at school showed me more about them than it did about me. And when it came to relationships, one of my mother’s favourite phrases was “don’t ever let someone treat you like a handbag; pick you up and put you down whenever they like. You’re in control of you, your body and your choices”.
I was taught to have a voice. I was shown that having a voice is imperative if I ever wanted to have a say in my own life and the world around me. I began using my voice through public speaking and on stage.
I never wanted to be the damsel. I didn’t even want to be a warrior and fight against others.
I was the dragon.
I AM the dragon.
Please check out the details of my workshop, I AM the dragon. If you’re a parent reading this: don’t you wish there was something around like this when you went through the challenging years of high school?
To the young women interested in this course— I can’t wait to see you there and get our dragon on! Please feel free to come alone or bring some friends. And remember – you don’t have to do it alone. xkp