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Celebrating International Women’s Day The K’dor Way

Part One

The House of K’dor is built on family, love and respect. So we thought it would be perfect, this International Women’s Day, to talk to three families about work, life, love, opportunity and feminism. In the first instalment of our three-part series, Zena and daughter Sienna take a look back at how far women have come over the past half a century, and how far we still have to go.

Zena and Sienna Kaddour photographed by Daniel Sabouné
Zena and Sienna Kaddour photographed by Daniel Sabouné

Zena Kaddour

Creative Director, House of K’dor

“Growing up in a very traditional household, my family believed that because I was a woman I was destined for a life of domesticity; that I was going to be a housewife, and they didn’t encourage the opportunity to be anything otherwise. Of course, I feel no resentment toward them, because while their views on women might have been a bit outdated, this was all they knew – and all I knew as well. My education was cut short, not due to lack of wanting, but lack of opportunity to pursue.”

Tarick and I will be 17 years married this year, and we’ve been blessed with the most amazing children – Noah, who’s 16, Sienna, who’s 14 and Jacob, who’s 11. When they were young, I never had any intention of being involved in the business that Tarick had founded. My time was consumed with being a full-time mother and I was reluctant to pursue my career or education as I didn’t want to compromise or miss out on their younger years.

It was a decade ago that I started working with Tarick. My role was actually to secure Swiss watch brands for our boutiques, but with this new role came rejection after rejection. I had entered a male-dominated industry which, to be honest, I knew nothing about. What I did know though, was I enjoyed being part of the environment that my husband had built and fell in love with all its magic; that we created so much joy and we’re a part of so many wonderful journeys and love stories. Now, my work allows me every day to connect, design, create and build relationships where I am able to radiate and be part of joyful moments.

“It took me a while to get to a point where I felt as if my life was in my control. Now, I truly believe women can multitask – they can have it all.”

That’s not to say the journey has been perfectly scripted and there haven’t been some challenges along the way. It took me a while to get to a point where I felt as if my life was in my control. Now, I truly believe women can multitask – they can have it all.

While in western society we like to think we are so far into the future, and that as humans we are so progressive, but there are still hundreds and thousands of women being treated as lesser-than all across the world. Rape culture is still ever-present in society and men believe they are entitled to own women and their bodies. Women across the world are stuck in abusive relationships, young girls are being taught that they are the problem, to cover their bodies and to conform to the patriarchy. This culture is filtering through homes, and into the workplace.

We are fortunate to see that in Australia we have become a lot more adaptable to seeing women progress in leadership roles. The fast-paced technological world we live in has given us the power with individual platforms to voice our opinion in a positive approach, while helping to solve the many issues we are facing.

“The fact is we no longer have to depend on men to achieve our goals, we’re educated, fearless and, most importantly, united.”

I personally believe the most significant change has been the evolution of women becoming more independent, pursuing higher education to further their purpose and career paths. The fact is we no longer have to depend on men to achieve our goals, we’re educated, fearless and, most importantly, united.

My wish for my daughter, Sienna, is for her to know she is the most precious diamond of all and that she can be whoever she wants to be, without feeling the need to apologise or compromise. She can make noise and incite change. I want her to feel empowered by her womanhood and proud of all the women who fought for and continue to fight for our rights and a better future for women.

International Women’s Day, to me, is a day where we reflect and come together; where we unite as a community to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements that women have implemented into society, both locally and globally, on social, economic, cultural and political levels, and simply in everyday life. I also think it’s a significant day that highlights the importance of continuing to communicate for change – for equality in the workplace and to focus greater attention on women’s rights. As a mother of two sons and one daughter, I strongly believe that, in order to see a continuous positive change in the community, we must educate our children and instil in them good values.”

Zena & Sienna

Photography by Daniel Sabouné

Sienna Kaddour

Student

“Growing up in the 2000s is all I’ve ever known, so the only experiences I can compare it to are the stories I’ve heard from people before me. Society today is certainly more progressive and open-minded than it’s ever been historically, but we still have such a long way to go. What I think is great about my generation is that a lot of our parents were riding the different waves of feminism, and many of us have been taught to challenge the patriarchal system that has stood for so long. Even with this, so many are still facing inequalities because of who they are or want to be. A lot of the discrimination people face today is at the hands of people who were raised in generations that pushed people to conform to its boundaries – and people have internalised this hatred themselves.”

I think boys and girls have some of the same opportunities today. I definitely think that there are different factors that impact opportunities, things like race, economic status, education, sexuality and language. All of these important factors, which make up a person, play a role in how society views you and the opportunities it allows you. We as humans LOVE to put things into boxes, it helps us make sense of things. However, it’s incredibly harmful to both boys and girls to be pushed into categories. I think a lot of people exclude boys from the fact that the patriarchy is oppressive. We are fortunate because living in Australia means there are laws which try to eradicate gender-based discrimination completely, allowing girls and boys the same opportunities. But, unfortunately, around the world women still are treated as second-class humans.

Also, body image is such a prominent issue in today’s society. With unattainable beauty standards being projected through social media now more than ever, it’s impossible to escape. Society values women who accommodate to its beauty standards more. Men and boys view women as objects of desire and this is incredibly harmful, because women are so, so much more.

“Mostly, I want to make myself proud – it’s so important for me to put myself first in my life.”

When I leave school I want to take risks. I want to be the best, most accepting, open-minded version of myself possible. I want to be the sort of person who my younger self would look at and think ‘wow, she is so cool’. No matter what field I pursue, I want to be the best at what I do. Mostly, I want to make myself proud – it’s so important for me to put myself first in my life.

Am I worried about inequality in the workplace? Yes and no. It is almost inevitable that my work may not be as respected as that of a man, but like the women before me, I plan on trying to help dismantle prejudices in the workplace. I think having women in positions of leadership will help effect change faster.

As for right now, all sorts of changes need to happen, and if I’m alive to see them take effect, I’ll be grateful. I think people need to be more respectful, to hate less and love more. I really believe in, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’

To me International Women’s Day is a day of empowerment.”

International Women’s Day is when we celebrate those women who have overcome obstacles set by the patriarchy and achieved great things. It’s a day where we remember all the women who fought and protested for women’s rights. It’s a day where women all over the world come together and unite in our shared cause; a day where we fight for the women who are being marginalised, treated as less-than and being oppressed. To me International Women’s Day is a day of empowerment.”

 

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