Most recently, in my real life, when I'm not enjoying life in Fiji and writing about it for this blog (which incidentally has become my favourite way to spend time!) I have been working as a freelance Content Creator, Social Media Manager and a Virtual Assistant. One of my recent jobs led me to the Brisbane Super 7s Rugby tournament and right into the pathway of the inspirational Fiji Women's Rugby 7s team - Fijiana.
Imagine how excited I was given my history with and love for Fiji?
I was literally driving down the Gold Coast Highway to Brisbane singing out loud in utter joy, and thinking how lucky I was to be in this position. Without going into detail as to the particular job I had to do, I had an awesome experience meeting the team, the Team Manager, Coach (a former NZ 7s player) and many other inspirational women playing rugby for their country.
Not only Fijiana were playing in the tournament - South Africa, USA, Spain, France, England and Australia (to name a few) were represented there. So it was a genuine world tournament. My daughters came along with me and I was so happy for them to see first hand where hard work and passion can get you.
The fitness, athletiscm and strength of these girls was pure inspiration. I am not 'into' sport, let's face it - I never have been! I remember my Mum pushing me to play club netball when I was 10/11years old for the Kedron Lions in Brisbane. I hated every minute of it. (Which is why it is so weird that I have ended up married to my Hubby, who is 100% Sport personified). But seeing these women play, and to chat to them about their lives, and try to understand the sacrifices they've made for their sport, was pretty cool.
One such woman played for the USA Rugby 7s team. She told me she had just played her game - a tough, rough and fast one by the way - and she ran off-field to immediately ring her little girl at home in the US who was staying up way past her bedtime to hear if 'mummy had won her game'.
These women not only train like warriors, and play with passion for their sport against the odds that today's society throws at them (less games, less tournaments, less pay, less sponsorship, less media coverage - than their male counterparts) but they do it leaving their kids at home, and represent their country in a sport that is only now becoming well-known for Women. This Sportswoman obviously did not stop thinking about her daughter throughout the game, knowing she had to call her straight away. It's a pretty courageous thing to do, wouldn't you say?
I will get off my soapbox now, but not before I quote a bit of Beyoncé
"How we're smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children
Then get back to business"
Okay I lied, I can't get off my soapbox just yet.
Women are strong. And it's such a shame in 2018 that we are still calling for equality, not only in sport, but in all areas of life.
We keep celebrating small steps to equality in sport - like when the Men's & Women's tournaments at the Sydney 7s earlier this month were integrated for the first time, or when the organisers of the ICC World Twenty-20, being hosted in Australia in 2020, announced that it will be a first time ever stand-alone Women's cricket tournament (normally held as a ‘background’ to the Men’s) with the final being held at the MCG.
Yes, it's great. But why should we be celebrating, when it really shouldn't be a big deal anymore - it should already be happening?
We need to be asking why has it taken this long? It's 2018 for Pete's sake (whose Pete? I don't know but he must be pretty important to have a saying named after him!)
(Sidenote: I just had to google who Pete was - and it was a reference way back in the 1900's to some people not wanting to use the Lord's name in vein so changed the word "Christ" to "Pete" - how interesting!)
I know this is an odd blog post for a moving or travelling to Fiji website, but these thoughts have been swirling around in my head since I went to the Rugby tournament and chatted to a few of the players. Why? Why? Why? Why is it 2018 and we are still fighting for equality?
I wouldn't call myself a feminist. I would call myself a fair-ist - I just don't like things being unfair. And I do believe that women and men are very different, and play different roles in life each having their own strengths - but when it comes to the same job being paid differently if you're a man versus a woman, or sponsorship in sport being uneven because it's the women's team versus the men's - I think it's unfair.
So, to all the strong women sacrificing not only for their sport, but for their careers, for their families.. to the strong women simply 'doing life' - being mothers, wives, best friends, daughters, sisters and so on, against all those outdated and limited beliefs that the guys should be paid more, or get more advantages - I say Yay to us!
Some days we are literally up against it, and yes gals - I'm talking about the laundry pile, the work emails, the kids school lunches, extra study and blah blah blah, most of us without the added pressure of representing our country in sport. So congratulations on simply getting through the daily grind. I rely on a long black each day to get through my grind. (Do you have any vices?)
And to the sweet, strong gals of the Fijiana team - if I could sit down with you properly for a some tea and long loaf, or breakfast crackers with jam - I would ask you to tell me your stories. Because we all know I love a good story.
I have so much respect for the Fijiana team, not only for all the reasons I've outlined above, but because they do 'Life' with so much zest, such happiness, such 'sega na lega' attitudes - with big Bula smiles. Having lived and worked in Fiji, I know some of what struggles they face, and they do it with Grace. I have so much admiration for them.
Wananavu Fijiana and all Fijian women!
Toso Viti Toso - especially the girls !
Loving and leaving you till next time XX
SJ here - did you enjoy reading this post? Or find it helpful? If so, I would appreciate it so much if you could share it on your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest by clicking one of the buttons just below this... And even better - please leave me a comment below - I love love love reading your comments and knowing your thoughts about this topic. Or you could Email Me if you prefer. Vinaka Vakalevu - Thank you! And thanks for stopping by my Blog xx