Meet a member – Bess Rossiter

25 February 2019

This article is part of our member profile series. Our members tell us that one of the things they love about being part of our community is getting to know like-minded women. Each month, we’ll feature an interview with a member, so you can get to know each other a little better. Today, meet Bess Rossiter.  

You in a nutshell?

Passionate, vibrant, a little too stubborn but very focused, particularly on improving the role of girls and women around the world.

What’s on your playlist?

Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Meg Mac and some shameful, shameful country music!

People would be surprised if they knew…

I was a national champion competitive cheerleader for fifteen years in Australia and the USA! I’d encourage people to research the sport, as it represented, for me, great empowerment and a divergence from conventional gender roles and contributions.

What are you reading at the moment?

Fascism: A warning by Madeline Albright (to counterbalance the shelves full of tacky fantasy books).

What was your highlight of the past year?

Successfully applying for my current role with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.

Who is your feminist hero?

It’s a tie between two women. The first is my mother, a lifelong feminist, and successful scholar whose emotional and academic intelligence has long inspired me, and hundreds of students, to consider their own context from an intersectional feminist lens. The second is the revered and admirable Maya Angelou, for her courage and persistence in the pursuit of justice.

What’s an achievement you’re proud of?

My proudest achievement is the impact of my advocacy, management and fundraising for survivors of slavery and trafficking in Australia, with social enterprise the Freedom Hub.

Why did you join the Y?

I initially joined the NSW YWCA when I began working externally with its impressive president, Elizabeth Bryan. Upon immediate interaction with the Y’s mission, I knew it aligned with my pursuits and values, so immediately joined. Upon moving to Canberra, I followed suit with the ACT branch, to remain engaged with action on the issues I care most about.

Who inspires you?

So many people! At present, it has to be Christine Blasey Ford.

What’s the change you want to see in the world?

Meaningful action to inspire change in gender violence, the use of sex crimes as a war tool, and the sufficiency of rehabilitation for survivors of sexual and gender violence worldwide!

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