Choose to Challenge for International Women’s Day: Interview with Annabelle Daniel

Giving back to the community and supporting the vital work of Australian charities supporting women is at the very core of what we do at Pillow Talk, and so today, International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on one of those charities.

Through our partnership with i=Change, we have supported Women’s Community Shelters for the past year, so far donating over $65,000! Their mission is to help build an Australia where women are safe, secure, supported and equal, and assist with eradicating women’s homelessness and domestic violence.

We caught up with CEO of the charity, Annabelle Daniel OAM, to find out more about the important services the charity provides, her work’s inspiration and what International Women’s Day means to her.

CEO of Women's Community Shelters, Annabelle Daniel OAM | Pillow Talk

CEO of Women’s Community Shelters, Annabelle Daniel OAM

Annabelle, can you tell us a little about the services Women’s Community Shelters offer?

Women’s Community Shelters works with local communities to establish crisis accommodation shelters for women and children who are homeless or leaving domestic and family violence. Last year around Australia, over 10,000 women and children were turned away from a crisis shelter because there wasn’t enough space to accommodate them.

Each woman and child who comes into our shelter network receives safe housing, individual support, and a professional caseworker coach them as they plan their next steps.

What would you like to see in the future for women and children in Australia who are homeless or escaping domestic violence?

In providing tailored support at the right time, we can assist women on the path to an equal and self-sustaining future. Furthermore, our work with local communities and high schools is preventative. By showing communities these issues happen everywhere and how we can each make a difference where we are and with what we have, we are building community capacity to respond to domestic violence and homelessness and providing vital education. This is really about building the Australia we all want to live in!

A living space inside Bayside Women's Shelter

A living space inside Bayside Women’s Shelter

How has the money raised by Pillow Talk assisted?

The money you have raised to assist us with our mission is incredibly significant. It’s effectively bought whole new futures for families, the impact of that cannot be underestimated – it has broken the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence for them.

Have you had a female mentor throughout your life?

I’ve had a number of amazing female mentors through my life – bosses, older friends, women I’ve looked up to. I’ve always admired the work of women who got the domestic violence, women’s health and women’s legal movements going in the 1970’s like Anne Summers and Dale Spender. I’m incredibly lucky that I am in regular contact with Anne Summers now, and her experience is something I regularly draw from. As a mid-career professional, I also informally mentor a number of younger women and provide advice wherever I can.

“It’s important to pay it forward, and create that long, unbroken chain of women encouraging and celebrating each other at all stages of life.”

What does International Women’s Day mean to you, and to the shelters?

International Women’s Day seems to get bigger and bigger each year! For me, it usually involves talking about our work over two weeks and highlighting the importance of what we do. For me personally, it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with so many other women doing incredible work, and celebrate our strength, ingenuity and resilience.

In 2021, Women’s Community Shelters plan to establish two new shelters in South Western Sydney and we have committed to providing comfortable pillows for the women and children who stay to sleep on.

You can shop with purpose this International Women’s Day, with our increased donation of $5 from every online sale going to an Australian charity.