High and low lights 2013

What an insane year this has been, challenging, difficult, fabulous at times. Lots of kooky things happened in 2013. Apparently astrologically this can be blamed on something up Uranus

In February I lost my lovely friend (my favourite mother in law) and my children lost their favourite grandma in a terrible accident. She was a feisty feminist warrior, an artist and activist and we miss her

I took my munchkins overseas for the first time all together on a family holiday to visit my big brother and we loved it. We had a magical time; boat rides, 1000s of fish, gigantic snails, night markets, turtles, puffer fish, swimming, strange smells, diving, making new friends, eating fabulous Thai food and meeting the marvellous Sister Joan at Presentation Slums Mission in Bangkok. Life is about being with the people you love and telling them how special they are to you

I swam with fish in the Andaman Sea

I kissed a boy and I liked it

When I was MC for North Shore Relay for Life in March I took a bunch of local school kids up to the RNS Hospital cancer ward to sing for the adult patients. So beautiful and so sad. The questions from the kids in the lift on the way down were heartbreaking

I spent the winter writing comedy and workshopping my stuff with the fabulous Ciel. Then in September I had a fantastic time performing in three shows for the Sydney Fringe Festival including a show with my daughters and my solo stand up comedy show

I visited Tasmania for the first time and made great new friends and had a fabulous visit with an old friend. And I went to MONA in Hobart, what an art collection

I spent four days of madness and laughter with my Clown Doctor sisters and brothers and we giggled, played, danced and cheered each other up muchly

Australians got distracted by Twitter and stupid reality TV shows and forgot to hold their political leaders to account on environmental policies. Oops, there goes the Great Barrier Reef and our pristine wilderness

The entertaining children’s author Deborah Abela came to my daughters’ school and ignited a passion for reading in my youngest child. Thank you Deborah

My girls marched closer to adulthood as I learned to let go

The music of One Direction invaded my house like a wrecking ball

In Australia we had a federal election campaign that went on for 50 years (actually seven months but it felt like a gazillion times that). Australians voted against a vain PM and we ended up with Mr Misogynist refugee hater as our new prime minister

A magazine editor thought that a campaign featuring ladies not wearing any make up would empower women

I learned how to play more than three chords on my ukulele and sang funny songs with the beautiful families of very sick children in hospital

Damn, I forgot to marry for money

Around the world lots of crazy shiz went down:

In Britain there was scandal when the horse meat of the apocalypse was declared the national dish. Foal burger anyone?

Russians took a meteor shower

Mansplaining became the word du jour for more than a day

More women said ‘enough is enough I can’t go on’ (in the words of Barbra Streisand), and joined the fight for equal pay as feminists the world over marched closer to the imaginary land of Equality

In the US everyone stood near the fiscal cliff and peered over. Except the billionaires who were too busy raping and pillaging the country

In the Philippines a huge storm killed thousands and wiped out entire villages. MSF and many other charities restored our faith in human nature

Saudi women got behind the wheel and showed that women can drive too

Wendy Davis filibustered her way into feminist history

A celebrity flashed her undies, bought new boobs, had a baby, married her best friend’s personal trainer after stealing him from his fiancee, they got divorced after two days, she adopted seven children from a yak herder in Mongolia and released a perfume line featuring photos of the children in various states of undress (I think). This received more media coverage than unimportant issues like the death of the great Nelson Mandela

Madiba passed away at the age of 95 and the whole world mourned because we have too few visionary leaders and too many greedy narcissists in positions of power

Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 16th birthday with an inspirational speech, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”

All in all a wonderful year of chaos


Because I am a girl

In a world where Destroy The Joint often triumphs over misogynist Twitter trolls, it’s easy to think that we girls are winning since we decided to put our knitting down and come out of the typing pool to run the world fairly, but we are a long way from the ideal of equal rights for all.

Today is the UN International Day of the Girl child to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.

Consider these facts;
1 in 7 girls is married before the age of 15
Every 60 seconds a girl dies giving birth
Girls are persecuted more than any other political or religious group
Around 90% of child workers are girls aged 12-17
Girls are three times more likely to suffer from malnutrition than boys
One in every four girls are sexually abused by the age of 18

And these from the UN website:
The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.

Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child recognises the power of the adolescent girl, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls,” said Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General. I donate to Plan Australia, their Girls Fund is doing great work in the world.

I may be just a girl but I hope we educated gals in the west can go to bed knowing that we gave our sisters in other parts of the world an equal chance. As my 20 year old daughter said four years ago,
“What if the cure for cancer is trapped in the brain of a girl like Malala and it can’t get out because she’s not allowed to get an education?”


I am woman, hear me roar

Today is International Women’s Day. Today we celebrate women like brave, bold Malala, the 15 year old Pakistani schoolgirl who took on the Taliban to ensure that all girls in her country have the right to an education. She is the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and the same age as my eldest daughter. One day my daughters won’t need a day reserved for them because women will have equal rights all over the world.