INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Kirstie Clements experienced just how harshly women can be treated when she was unceremoniously dumped from her position as Vogue Australia's editor-in-chief two years ago.
After 13 years in the job, Ms Clements was not even allowed to speak to her staff when sacked without warning and, in the weeks that followed, rumours about her throwing chairs or being "shambolic", "frosty" and "unravelling" were spread by anonymous industry insiders.
"There's a huge level of misogyny in the media and while men can just go away quietly and get a job on a board, women get picked on and laughed at," she said.
"Particularly in those glamour jobs where people just think you air-kissed all the time ... there's a double standard and you never see that woman pop up again."
Ms Clements has spent the past 18 months fighting off these double standards, releasing two books and becoming a sought-after public speaker.
She shared her story with a 400-strong audience at the Illawarra International Women's Day lunch at the Novotel Northbeach on Friday.
"My story now is not about the razzmatazz of Vogue - it's more like every woman's story about how you pick yourself up and dust yourself off after a setback," she said.
"I think that's a universal message, whether you're the editor of Vogue or a stay-at-home mum - there's a struggle.
"It's hugely important that we encourage each other and remind each other that the struggle hasn't finished and it probably never will be in terms of where women need to be," Ms Clements said.
Four scholarships celebrating Illawarra women's achievement were handed out at yesterday's event, with Tayla Leigh Howard, Madeline Heiner, Sheeree Rankmore and Melissa Ritchie receiving awards.
International Women's Day is celebrated around the world every year on March 8.