WIA Themes: New Beginnings – Creative Spring Ideas

Found these cool suggestions for brightening up your walls this spring, enjoy!
Full lists at http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/diy-wall-art-projects/pictures/index.html and http://www.bhg.com/decorating/seasonal/spring/spring-decorating-ideas/#page=5

My favourites:

Cork World Map


Painted Canvas


Framed Coffee Coasters


Black and White Photo Wall


Painted Ceiling Rosettes


Wall Stickers with Photos



WIA Themes: New Beginnings

New Beginnings is the WIA Theme for this fortnight.
What with spring in the air and all, it’s a great time to look at the value of new beginnings, fresh starts, invigorating changes…from spring cleaning to garage sales, moving house, changing hairstyles, driving a different way to work, starting a new hobby…the list goes on. Join me and discover something!

Here’s a little something to start off:

“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”
― C. JoyBell C.

WIA: Themes

Hello Women in Action. After a brief absence (cooking up some fun ideas of course) we are BACK!!
Welcome to WIA: Themes! Each fortnight we will explore a different theme (love, leadership, happiness, gratitude, loss, adventure, travel etc) through photography, quotes, stories, interviews and more.
Hope you enjoy and as always, contribute your thoughts and anything you find along the way.
let us begin….

WIA Interview: Kate Pamphilon



There have been women in history who have fought for my ability to vote, to go to university, to have choices in life. There have been women who have fought really hard for those things and I’m blessed to be getting the benefit from that. It’s my duty to keep that legacy going.


Women in Action – I’m once again thrilled to present to you a fascinating interview with the wonderful Kate. Kate is (among many other things) a skilled Kinesiologist who works in the Canberra region, and we sat down to talk about her work, her family, feminism and more. Here links to her website and more, make sure you check them out – 

Kate’s website Holistic by Nature: http://www.holisticbynature.com.au
Kate’s workplace: http://www.livewellnaturally.com.au/kinesiology-canberra/


If you could use one sentence, or 5 words to describe yourself, what would it be?
When I thought about what would describe me, it’s really the roles that I have in my life at the moment. Two parts mother, one part partner, one part sister and daughter, and then I thought ‘you are what you eat’ so I’m a little bit of chocolate and depending on the day you throw in a bit of all spice too, and that’s pretty much who I am! It’s about the parts I am playing, and the demands of all those parts.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
This is an easy one – my children! Literally! By the early hours of the morning both my children are in the bed with my partner and I. It’s quite beautiful because we spend the first half hour of each day together. What always gets me out of bed is just participating in life.That’s why I’ve really loved living in lots of different places. It took my breath away every time I would get up, and I’d look at where I was living. If I had nothing to do on that day, I’d just walk, and just loved turning a corner and seeing a new building or a new park I hadn’t seen before. In recent times what gets me out of bed is a desire to connect with people. I’ve spent much of my time hibernating and having alone time, because the world is a very crazy place, and you need to recharge. Now I feel like I’ve turned a corner in my life and it’s about connecting, checking in with the people I love, and seeing what they’re up to. Whatever comes from that is how your day goes. I was always reaching out far away to all corners of the world, and now it’s like I enjoy reaching out in whatever place I’m in.

From when you were growing up, did you have any favourite or particular memories of your mother or other women in your life?
I was lucky to have a lot of strong women in my life. My mum is a mad crazy feminist, and so was my dad, when I think about it. Mum always managed to have me spend time with really strong and powerful women, which was awesome. When I think of memories, there’s so many, because we’re very close. A more recent memory comes from about 5 years ago, we got to work on a project together where we went to Samoa and did a community development project together. I was sort of her right hand woman. I got to see her in all of her glory and all of her skill and strength and compassion. We were going out to all of these different villages, and coming home to our beautiful cabin and debriefing for the day, then spend the whole night chatting until we fell asleep. I really got a taste of mum away from the family and in her work life. That’s a pretty special memory for me, because when you’re older and your lives demand so much from you, to be able to come together and spend that time together, and create something together, was really fantastic.

How did you get into your current career in Kinesiology?
The little voice in my head was always saying ‘study complementary medicine’. I was never sure what that was going to be. I did originally want to be an actor, but then life changed and I headed off in a different direction. I was always more interested in travel, I wasn’t interested in a career. I came back from a really big travel, and got into a career which was really not me, which was IT. I started to go a little bit numb working in front of a computer all day, and realised I was starving my soul. Life was turning upside down in many ways, and a friend of mine said ‘go and have a kinesiology balance’. I had no idea what she was talking about! I went along and after a few minutes of lying there I thought ‘this is it, this is what I want to do’. It was very eclectic and encompasses so much of the person you work with. It’s not just a physical modality, it’s emotional and mental. You can work with any religion, any spirituality, any philosophy of life you have. It encompasses the spirit, and the mind/body connection, and cuts to things so quickly. I lay down and spoke to the woman (in my treatment) and she started using my muscles to talk to my body, and my body talked back. All of a sudden she was saying these very old phrases that are really old habits of mine or old mental thoughts. Everything fell into place, as she began balancing it and releasing it, and it was amazing.

It was that element of ‘everything’, that with kinesiology you can do nutrition, you can do hormones, you can do your chakras and traditional chinese medicine meridians. You’re never boxed in. I looked and found I was actually a ten minute bike ride from one of the best natural therapy colleges in the world, and I actually had money in the bank! I haven’t looked back since, because it’s just become a part of me. I feel so lucky to be able to go and work in a job every day where it just feels right. I get excited going to work every day and I love introducing Kinesiology to people, it never ceases to take my breath away.

When you completed your studies, did you work for someone else for a while, or start your own business straight away?
I started my own straight away actually. Throughout your studies you can practise, and you run a student clinic, so you get a taste for what it’s like. At the time I was heading into having children so I wanted to work from home. I was also working for a small business, so I was learning all the red tape, the admin side, the practical side of running a business. I’m running my own business now and working with a clinic, where we all work together. At the moment I have a taste of both.


What do you love about your work?
Seeing people transform. Seeing them come in with their energy being heavy, and they’re weighed down by life, and seeing them walk out lighter and brighter. They’ve got a greater understanding of themselves, they’ve got tools and they know the next steps. It’s putting the pieces together. Working with people for a couple of sessions it’s beautiful watching their journey. I always send people the notes from their session so everybody has the opportunity to go back and see how far they’ve come. Sometimes they come back and you hardly even recognise them! It always inspires me what I learn from them in a session.

My clients teach me a lot, especially kids, they have a really powerful way of looking at things. When I ask them a question sometimes their answers are spot on and amazing. It’s about participation. Some people find the sessions quite relaxing, but ultimately it’s about facilitating someone’s natural healing. That’s really what kinesiology is about.

What is the biggest challenge in your work?
Definitely working with people’s energies, and working with people’s stories. It can get very heavy. I was always taught to keep one foot in and one foot out. It doesn’t help anybody if I get all emotional when you’re all emotional. It’s hard sometimes not to really get drawn into the story and what’s happening. These are people’s lives! Using your hands every day, you have to really stay grounded in yourself, and there’s a lot of self-care involved.

If you could give any advice to your 15 year old self, what would it be?
So hormonal at 15!! High school was a really hard time, it’s not easy. Clients I work with, as soon as I know they are in high school I comfort them a lot by saying ‘you know what, high school is not easy!’ I would definitely say to myself – be secure within who you are, and know that everybody is unique. Try to always live your path and not someone else’s. Stick to what feels good for you and what makes you happy. Know that it’s ok to make mistakes, and that’s part of life. Even getting to know yourself and be secure in yourself is a life-long lesson. My 15 year old self would have very much benefitted from relaxing and being ok with who I was! It’s important to live authentically, and at 15 you’re pulled in so many directions and exposed to so many things it can be hard to stay on your path.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Definitely in about 5 years having well established networks in Canberra, because I’ve only been back here for a couple of years. I’m just really nourished and encouraged by networking, and I’m running a lot of seminars and workshops myself, and bringing people together who have similar needs. I’d like to go beyond Canberra with that, and spread the word of kinesiology. The clinic I’ve joined has been a really good avenue for that. Professionally that’s a huge goal, to nourish the community of Canberra, and have a flourishing business. My children by then will be in primary school, so I’ll probably be on all the school committees, and get involved in all of that. I would love to take them overseas again soon, even around Australia. That’s about me in 5 years, it doesn’t feel far away at all!!

Why are you a Woman in Action?
Because I was raised to be. Mum is a massive feminist and so is dad, and my aunts and all the wonderful people I’ve grown up with. Looking back I’ve realized for me there’s no other option. There have been women in history who have fought for my ability to vote, to go to university, to have choices in life. There have been women who have fought really hard for those things and I’m blessed to be getting the benefit from that. It’s my duty to keep that legacy going. When I was little mum was always taking me to protests. The first one I remember was against backyard abortions. I remember being in the crowd and feeling the energy and the passion so strongly, that I yelled something out! Everyone turned and looked at me, even mum was looking at me! I think everyone was surprised that this little 8 year old was yelling so passionately about the issue.

I don’t feel like I have any other way to be, it’s something that you do, it’s a responsibility that you have as a woman, that you fight for. Both my children will be taught that and they already see it. It’s quite wonderful to care about your community and do something. You can’t just sit back and watch the news and be depressed by it, you can go out there and do things for it. It’s definitely not something I feel I have a choice about, it’s who I am, a strong vocal woman, but sometimes being a quiet, caring woman too! The way women speak up now is different, but there are still a lot of platforms for women to speak up. I think too, as I touched on, there are great men in my life who are just as big of a feminist as I am. Something that feminism has done for men is broadening their world, so that they can have options and choices, and say that they want to stay at home, or be soft and gentle and nurturing too.



WIA: Notes from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, in conversation with Ms Virginia Haussegger

  From 2015 onwards, we want changes that are IRREVERSIBLE. No more of this ‘one step forwards, two steps back’. Gender inequality for women is a tolerated human rights violation. We need to make it impossible for leaders, governments, communities to work without a framework for gender equity and the empowerment of women. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.10616549_542020075834464_6320710932186274769_nvirginia1

This discussion was organized in light of the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on women’s empowerment. Here are my notes, please accept any errors as my own, as it is NOT (I repeat NOT!) a transcript, rather my shorthand of a complex and fascinating conversation. Enjoy!

Virginia: Why did you step into the position of Executive Director of UN Women?
Phumzile: You have to step up, because not to step up in a world like this is to abdicate responsibility. Serving women is one of the best things you can do for society.

Virginia: Have you seen much progress in the 20 years since Beijing?virginia2
Phumzile: To start with, the vision I had coming into UN Women was not all that clear. but what I have been working on is empowering women in leadership. In Afghanistan for example, we worked with women there to increase their participation in parliament, and in Pakistan we helped with the election process. We are also seeing some progress in the reduction of violence against women, especially as we work on mobilizing men and boys.

Virginia: So many saw Beijing as a progressive road map and a platform for action, but it has fallen short. What happened along the way?
Phumzile: We are cautious in celebrating the achievements made so far since Beijing, because there are still so many things to work on. We are afraid of re opening dialogue today in a similar way as Beijing because we could lose all the ground we have won, so severe is the backlash over some issues. Beijing was very much ahead of its time, but leadership is about having a vision, and creating something for society to work towards. When only 22% of parliamentary members worldwide are female, it is pointless to celebrate that ‘some’ are better off now than others. We rather want to encourage a critical mass of women from grassroots levels all the way up, to take action.

From 2015 onwards, we want changes that are IRREVERSIBLE. No more of this ‘one step forwards, two steps back’. Gender inequality for women is a tolerated human rights violation. We need to make it impossible for leaders, governments, communities to work without a framework for gender equity and the empowerment of women.

Virginia: Why do we tolerate things the way they are?
Phumzile: Inequality permeates all aspects of life. 70% of violence happens inside the home, and women are given no encouragement to speak up. It is often considered ‘just’ a family fight. We need to strengthen their resolve to report everyday violence, and make sure there is sufficiently focused leadership to bring perpetrators to justice quickly, so they don’t think they can get away with it,

Virginia: What about issues closer to home, in the Pacific region? Is there a tendancy for this area to be overlooked because it is ‘tucked away’?
Phumzile:Yes, and it is a problem that we simply do not hear enough, particularly in place like PNG. What we really need to do is chew the elephant (in the room) one piece at a time!

Virginia: Looking at the Millenium Development Goals, how helpful have they been in forwarding work for women?
Phumzile: What they have done really well is give us a lot of data and evidence. We can measure what constitutes a failure and how we actually can say we’ve suceeded. We now know lots about exactly what is wrong, so we have a common platform. Each of the different UN departments contributes something different – the WHO for example, can work on infant and maternal death rates, and UNICEF on keeping girls in school longer, which results in lower teenage pregnancy rates. No matter where you are on the scale (Australia is number one in the world for female participation in education) we all have exactly the same problem – a lack of women in leadership roles!!

Virginia: We had some trouble with the B20 (the representative of the Australian business sector in G20 negotiations) here, when they had no female speakers, and said they’d simply ‘failed to notice’!! What is the role of men in all this?
Phumzile: We need to showcase the good men out there who are doing the right thing. There are even some of them in Australia! it can be counter intuitive for feminists from my generation, but we need to help men mobilize their friends, and articulate the benefits for MEN in this vision of equality. No one is being shortchanged here!! There may some changes in roles of power, but the long-term overall impact is for everyone, not just women.

Virginia: What do you think about the backlash from mainly younger women against feminism?
Phumzile: I think in many cases these are women in privilaged positions who benefit from the battles that have already been won for them, not by them. They do not experience it themselves, so they do not think it is necessary. Here we need to bring out the statistics to show the reality of whats happening, and that women always need to be supported. We need to cultivate a human rights CULTURE that encourages people to care.

Audience question: How do you balance gender equality and respect for cultural values?
Phumzile: The role of the UN and UN Women IS to advocate for universal human rights. The second we don’t intervene when someone is being hurt or killed or raped negates the very nature of our work. We cannot risk having ‘no go’ zones. Of course, that said we need to have humility in listening to the leadership of each community.

Audience question: Why can’t we organize another Beijing Platform for Action?
Phumzile: The backlash around reproductive rights, sexual education and the definition of family has become so controversial that it is too risky to open up the possibility of debating these points again. The threat of losing what we already have is too great.

UN Women will be organizing a range of national activities to acknowledge Beijing +20, and will also be releasing national and global reports on the progress and status of women. Here is the website of UN Women Australia, keep an eye out: https://unwomen.org.au/