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Carly Findlay will change the way you see the world

25 October 2017

From the moment Westpac opened its doors strong women have been at the core of what we do. Women such as Mary Reibey, an emancipated convict and successful business woman, she was Westpac’s first landlord when the bank opened its doors in 1817.

Now in our 200th year we’re proud to support 200 Women, a storytelling project designed to provoke thought about diversity and equality through the stories of 200 women from around the world.

New Zealand-based publishers Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday travelled the world collecting the stories for 200 Women: Who will change the way you see the world (Chronicle Books, 2017). The women’s portraits were captured by celebrated photographer Kieran E. Scott.

The project is accompanied by an interactive exhibit you can visit at Sydney Opera House Forecourt from October 25 to November 6, 2017, and podcasts to which you can listen.

All the stories in the book belong to the women themselves. Some are confronting, many uplifting, all authentic. And, while we accept that not everyone will agree with all views, we are proud to begin a conversation about a range of issues that are important to women and men alike.

Below: Carly Findlay. An edited extract from Carly's story follows.

Carly Findlay Ok

Carly Findlay was born in a small town in rural Victoria, Australia. Born with ichthyosis, a rare genetic skin disorder, she advocates for a more inclusive attitude towards media portrayals of people who are disabled and who are living with facial differences. She holds a masters of communication from Melbourne’s RMIT University and a bachelor of e-commerce from La Trobe University, also in Melbourne. A blogger, writer, public speaker and appearance activist, Findlay was named one of Australia’s most influential women in the 2014 Australian Financial Review Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.

Q. What really matters to you?

“For the last ten years, I’ve wanted to change the way people with disabilities and facial differences are portrayed in the media, so taking part in this project is really good because it exposes people to a kind of face they may not otherwise see. I was born with a very severe skin condition called ichthyosis that has been really challenging medically and socially. When my skin becomes infected, I’m hospitalised; it becomes very difficult to move, and they treat me by wrapping me up in bandages like a mummy. To be honest, though, it’s the social challenges that are the hardest to bear: stares, comments, low expectations and ableism….

“Through my writing and speaking I’ve taken my story out into the world. My appearance was something I’d always wanted to change when I was younger, but then – I’m not sure how – I came to accept that this is how it is; I’m quite happy with how I look.”

 

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