Ahh, Valentine’s Day – an annual celebration of love. Love of any form. Love with no barriers. Love with no judgement. True love.
Whether you support Valentine’s Day or not; whether your celebrations are grand or small; whether you have lost faith in love or you are the keeper of that sacred belief; I challenge you to extend that love beyond your inner circle and share it in the community in these five ways.
1. Rebel against the politics that breeds division
In the all-consuming political battles, this year choose to take a stand on the issues that matter the most to you, for the love of this nation. For example, consider who is working towards bridging the gender gap; who is fighting for the refugees detained in our hotels for years; who is addressing the ever-growing need to support women experiencing domestic and family violence. Most importantly, who is showing love to you and your community? This election year, I encourage you to break the curse of party-line voting and have the courage to demand true love for your nation and your community.
2. Acknowledge the burdens of our past
As a country, we have come far in acknowledging that we are on stolen lands, yet we haven’t travelled far enough to abolish “Australia Day”. It is about time we no longer turn a blind eye to the high price our First Nations communities have paid and continue to pay for the solace of remembrance. Let’s try and do better. Let’s raise our voices for every voice that is silenced. This Valentine’s Day, let’s work towards unity.
3. Be an Intersectional Icon
Central to love are values of compassion and understanding. By becoming an intersectional icon through the following simple steps, amplify and spread the love in your heart:
- Check your privilege – look deep within yourself and the opportunities that exist for you, which may not be accessible for others;
- Share your power – use your power to be a good ally and elevate the voices of those who have been marginalised;
- Listen and be open-minded – actively try to understand a perspective that is different from yours.
4. Take the Sex out of Sexism
Sexism is not a woman’s problem. It is equally a man’s problem. We cannot win the fight against gender equality with only half of the population on board. Have a read of the wonderful letter Dr Phumzile has written to the Men and Boys of the World. Why not pen a similar love letter this Valentine’s Day to your loved one?
5. Demand an economy that honours the dignity of work
Australia’s national gender pay gap has hovered between 13% and 19% for the past two decades. If you are an employer, this Valentine’s Day, offer pay transparency to show your love for your employees. If you are an employee, show yourself some love and speak to your manager about a pay increase!
Let’s use this Valentine’s Day to set abiding examples of equality, love and kindness, and service that which moves hearts and minds, as opposed to exchanging bouquets that will wilt and chocolates that will melt.
Recognised by the Herald Sun as one of Melbourne’s most influential lawyers, Mannie Kaur Verma gives a voice to those who are often absent from our complex judicial system. She is also a finalist of Women of the Future 2021, a Women’s Weekly initiative celebrating the incredible social work of young women in Australia. She is also one of our YWCA Australia Board Members!