It’s the one day of the year women can’t be (or perhaps they refuse to be) derided for their union; the tightknit sisterhood of imperishable feminism. A common misconception associated with the term feminism is that women view men as a lesser power to them. Let me clarify – this is not true. Feminism preaches the need for equality, acceptance and recognition on mutual grounds.
Let’s talk great women!
Women are nurturers, carers, lovers, incredibly HARD WORKERS. For years, females have tried to sever the ties that bound them to the misbelief that women aren’t as able as men in the workforce. The empowerment women feel from the simple human right of equality is a fleeting of happiness that money cannot buy – but let’s consider how great it would be if this momentary lapse of joy transitioned into a permanent state of mind? On Sunday evening, in her acceptance speech for best actress at The Academy Awards, Frances McDormand ended her thanks with two words “inclusion rider.” The amount of Google searches for this term skyrocketed overnight, with many unaware of what The Three Billboards star meant when she concluded her acknowledgements. To condense its meaning and explain it briefly, “inclusion rider” is a contractual condition that actors and actresses can weave into their movie deals to ensure a range of diverse individuals are signed in both a film’s cast and crew.
Like many award recipients before her, Frances McDormand used her A-list status to draw attention to a large problem – the gender gap. Gender gaps exist even within the glitz and glam of the Hollywood world, reiterating the very real fact that such a divide unfortunately remains within practically all employment settings. Though this is a sad truth, Australian women in the field of medicine are “kicking ass” in breast cancer research, proving to females everywhere that women are indeed needed in society.
Associate Professor Prue Francis is just one of the many women involved in the Breast Cancer Trials group, the largest oncology research body in Australia. Alongside Professor Sherene Loi, Professor Kelly Phillips, Associate Professor Clare Scott and Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson, Prue and her team work directly in treating breast cancer patients as well as leading research trials to discover the best preventions, cures and treatments for the disease that affects so many women not only in Australia, but around the world. The Breast Cancer Trials group has evolved greatly over the years, with more women in medicine becoming involved.
“The Breast Cancer Trials group was initiated around 40 years ago, back in 1978. It was actually initiated by a group of men at the time. I don’t think there were any women particularly involved, it wasn’t an era when there were many women working as medical oncologists. It was basically a small group that got together and decided to try and work as a team to develop research activity for breast cancer,” Prue says.
Prue believes celebrating all women is important as women play such a crucial role in the community. “I think that it’s really important to acknowledge the role that women play in society generally because they play many different roles and I think when you look at people who work for example in a research field, often these people are juggling a lot of different aspects in their lives; patient care, research, other family responsibilities. Often people are busy and have a lot of balls in the air at once so it’s important that we acknowledge that,” she says.
Existing as the chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Breast Cancer Trials group, Prue is also involved in international trials where research is being done on premenopausal women with breast cancer in the hope of improving the outcomes for young women suffering from the disease. The Breast Cancer Trials group are a fascinatingly inspiring group of oncologists who are doing their bit in establishing a future with no breast cancer for the women of Australia and the world.
To learn more about the Breast Cancer Trials group, visit their website www.breastcancertrials.org.au.
From everyone here at Forte, we would like to commend Prue and her crew at the Breast Cancer Trials group on their amazing progress in breast cancer research. And to all the women in our growing community, we also wish to show our gratitude to you. We are constantly learning of phenomenal women in the creative world, and it’s our absolute pleasure to feature these extraordinary faces in the magazine.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Written by Hannah Kenny