Women we Love is where we feature ordinary women doing extraordinary things. Today we chat to Zoya Patel.
Zoya is 25 years old, and has grown up in Australia. She moved here from Fiji with her family when she was three years old. Currently, Zoya works full time in communications for a feminist not-for-profit. In her spare time, Zoya run the online, feminist literature and arts journal she founded, Feminartsy, and also works on numerous other projects.
AMICA: You are the founder and editor of Feminartsy. Tell us more about this publication. How did it come about?
Zoya: I used to be the editor-in-chief of Lip Magazine, from 2010-2014. Lip is a feminist mag, and I really love engaging with the feminist media space.
I founded Feminartsy because I wanted to create an online space that explored gender through different lenses, and that used art and literature as triggers to talk about bigger questions around feminism and gender.
One of the key focuses of Feminartsy is paying our contributors – we raise money through hosting regular monthly events, and all writers are paid for their work.
AMICA: We are all about girl power and supporting women to reach their full potentials. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Australian women today?
Zoya: There are numerous challenges facing Australian women today – particularly if you look at the term ‘Australian women’ outside of the mainstream, white, middle-class frame it usually refers to.
Violence against women is one of the most significant issues I see facing Australian women, and critically, Australian women from diverse backgrounds – if you live with a disability, are from a culturally diverse background, are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or transgender, you are more likely to experience violence.
Until we have a holistic approach to addressing and preventing violence against women, that acknowledges that gender inequality is the root cause of said violence and that equally resources primary, secondary and tertiary levels of intervention and prevention, we won’t be able to change this situation.
AMICA: If you were Prime Minister, what would be your first priority in regards to policy?
Zoya: Violence against women, as I stated above, would be a key area. I would also be looking at the resourcing provided to the community sector, and wrap-around approaches to service delivery so that individuals who might be experiencing more than one form of disadvantage are able to connect different services to most effectively address their needs.
Homelessness would also be a policy priority, particularly looking at how we can increase single-unit housing for women escaping domestic violence, and for older women experiencing homelessness. There is a real gap that exists there.
AMICA: We hear the Harry Potter series are your all time favourite books. Why so?
Zoya: The Harry Potter series holds at its core a message about equality and respecting diversity. The books played a significant role in my life as a child, and I still refer to them whenever I need an escape and a reminder that imagination is still the greatest form of inspiration.
AMICA: Can you tell us about your memoir?
Zoya: I’ve been working on a memoir for a while now, looking at a specific period of my life. It explores topics around cultural diversity and bridging the gap between two cultures, which many young Australians from culturally diverse backgrounds have to tackle.
I was lucky to receive the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers Fellowship in 2014, which is helping me take some time out later this year to focus on writing and editing, and am looking forward to finishing this big piece of work!
AMICA: How do you unwind and de-stress?
Zoya: I hang out with my partner and cat a fair bit, and my friends. I also love to horse-ride, and volunteer for ACT Animal Rescue, a great organisation.