This week I’ve been inspired by women standing up for themselves and for others in the face of what seems to be a bad B grade movie. Scenes of women marching in cities all over the world flooded the internet (see pics here) after Trump’s inauguration along with a myriad of articles, posts, tweets and images promoting sisterhood and unity.

Influential women around the world have addressed the issue in person and in print.

In Washington Gloria Steinhem applauded those who protested and urged women to follow their instincts. And in Sydney, writer Jane Caro urged marchers to ‘keep fighting’. On almost every continent women banded together to express their outrage and unity.

In recent times the word feminism has been much maligned. Like every political or social movement there are certainly extreme versions of it, but historically it’s been the more extreme individuals among us who have most successfully effected change. And let’s face it, where would we all be today if the suffragettes hadn’t stood up for their rights and votes, or if no bras had been burnt in the 60’s?

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the word or the idea. Surely feminism is all about championing women’s rights and I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with that. Women standing up for themselves is one of the main themes in my writing, and while I might only write commercial fiction and my books aren’t going to change the world, I’d like to think that the strength of my female characters is one the main features of my writing …

In Blackwattle Lake, Eve has to face not only her own guilt and fear about the past, but criticism from the community she returns to when her mother dies.

Miranda, in Essie’s Way, has to confront the sense of distance she has felt from her mother – and her own confused feelings about her impending marriage – to track down her grandmother. Essie, beaten down by a lifetime of isolation and abuse, has to learn to trust again.

For Charlie, in Close To Home, facing the backlash of community anger while she does her job as a vet, is almost as difficult as dealing with memories of her past.

As for Rose, Stephanie and Faith in The Crossroads, it’s finding the strength to follow their own intuitions and desires, even in the face of disapproval from their families, that gets them through.

I love being inspired by strong women – in my family, my friendships and in society. I love reading about them in my fiction. And I love writing about them.

Seeing the way women have come together over the last week has fired my passion for writing strong female protagonists even more. And I’m looking forward to seeing how women around the world continue to respond to the current challenges.

Meanwhile I’m moving Clementine Ford’s Fight Like a Girl to the top of my reading pile.

What are your thoughts on the issues facing women today, particularly those highlighted by Trump’s presidency?

 What women-centred issues would you like to see explored further in the books you read?

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