Turia Pitt bemoans diversity 'tokenism'

·2-min read

Turia Pitt is tired of tokenism.

She is renowned for surviving a 2011 grassfire that burnt 65 per cent of her body during an ultra-marathon in Western Australia.

Nearly a decade on, Ms Pitt is in the business of inspiring people.

She has written books, travelled the world, appeared in documentaries and on magazine covers - notably Australian Women's Weekly in 2014.

"But I'm also just getting tired because it's 2021, and diversity ... still seems to be an afterthought," Ms Pitt told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

She is frustrated other women - from minority backgrounds, with disabilities and who look different - are not getting the same visibility or opportunities.

"I think it's bull****. It's 2021 and diversity's like 'oh we've had a burns lady on the cover so we don't really need anyone else with a disability'," she said.

"It feels to me very much like 'we've ticked that box'."

Ms Pitt doesn't think she'd be a good fit for politics because she says what she thinks.

But if she were prime minister for a day, child care - free and available for everyone - would be at the top of her list.

"My mum has the baby today, but, again, that's invisible work, that's not counted right," she said.

"The main thing that I want to see is that kind of invisible work being counted.

"It's women who are usually leaving their careers and putting pause of their careers ... and you need to give them another option, which is child care."

Ms Pitt used her wide-ranging address to emphasise the power that comes from being vulnerable.

"I inspire people because I'm someone who's done the impossible. I've died three times on the operating table, I've painfully rebuilt my body and my life," she said.

She also pointed to the groundswell of anger about the treatment of women including Brittany Higgins, Kate Sullivan and Grace Tame.

"The more people that share their stories, the more people who speak up, take a stand, who don't take no for an answer, the closer we'll get to a solution."

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