Victorian women you need to know - Melissa Griffiths

Melissa Griffiths is a transgender authority and advocate and diversity and inclusion consultant from Melbourne.

International Women's Day - Victorian women you need to know

To celebrate International Women's Day, we spoke to six incredible Victorian women who #ChooseToChallenge every day.

To celebrate International Women's Day, we spoke to six incredible Victorian women who #ChooseToChallenge every day. 

Melissa Griffiths is a transgender authority and advocate from Melbourne. She is also a diversity and inclusion consultant who has managed to get a gender identity policy introduced at various horse racing clubs including the BRC, MRC, and VRC. 

Q: This year we’re focusing on women achieving equal futures in a COVID-19 world. Do you think the past year has helped or hindered our work towards gender equality? If yes/no – why?  

A: "The past year has in some ways hindered working towards gender equality because of the imbalance in some occupations, which was exposed as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.    

The imbalance of women working in lesser-paid casual jobs without hope of better positions in their organisation is still too high. Women have been left vulnerable and some suddenly found themselves without work, and sometimes no support network, or forced to cut hours and pay or doing more without compensation." 

Q: Who are the women in your community or circle that inspire you?  

A: "The women in my circle that inspire me are people like Tracey Spicer, Nicole Oaten and Sarah Josephine Liberty who each in their own way share their story which empowers others.    

While Sarah fights for online human rights, Tracey stands up for women’s rights and Nicole is also talking about issues of the day and tackles difficult topics. They each get their message heard and are an inspiration to many, not just me." 

Q: This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. In your own life, how are you challenging the status quo, calling out gender bias and inequality?  

A: "I constantly challenge the status quo simply by being a transgender woman, which a lot of people in society still don’t accept.   

When it comes to calling out gender bias and inequality, I do this through either social media or talking about my experiences of this in society with others in person or when chance arises in media.   

By sharing our stories, we can impact the world and end the gender bias we often face when applying for jobs, and inequality that exists in the treatment of all women and minority groups like mine." 

Q: Can you tell us about an empowering moment or achievement you had recently?  

A: "In recent times there have been a few empowering moments for me, such as the very personal one of having breast augmentation surgery, which made me feel more confident and happier.   

Also being able to mentor my friend Sarah as she navigates through life and the to’s and fro’s of a start-up non-profit organisation, and see her slowly bloom is empowering.    

Reflecting upon last year, being interviewed on the online TV show - The Informer was an achievement for me, being able to share my story and talk about challenges transgender people face." 

Q: In your career and life, how has connecting with other like-minded women helped or shaped you?   

A: "Connecting with other-like minded women has helped me in several areas of my life, including but not limited to my confidence, developing my mindset, emotional growth, media, speaking, and writing.    

Working on growing as a person so that I am stronger and more comfortable in speaking out enables me to have more of a voice and speak for those that don’t.    

By having people around you that enable you to #ChooseToChallenge more effectively, you are more effective in creating change, and these people have ultimately shaped the person who I am today." 

Melissa Griffiths is a life coach, mentor, and recognised thought leader. She is an Ambassador for  Flutterbys  , an organisation in the UK that helps families with young people struggling with gender identity. You can keep up with Melissa's advocacy work via her website .


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