Donna Davies

Director of Operations


What did you want to be when you were a kid? 

I used to love watching shows set in exotic places like Africa or any shows with animals really, especially David Attenborough documentaries and I was passionate about horses so I initially wanted to be a vet or have a farm working with horses. I always loved playing sport too so I’m sure at some stage I thought I would be a pro netballer.

What happened in-between?

I needed some adventure so saved up and went backpacking when I was 19 and this experience changed my life. I remember my first trip, crossing the border from the States into Mexico and being confronted by the huge contrast in living conditions and the absolute poverty that many were living in.  I was so shocked by this (you have to remember this was well before the internet so we did not see the images or have access to the information that we do now.)  It was a different world and it just seemed so unjust to me then and still does now how a line can divide.  I went on to study Business and Accounting which enabled me to work overseas and led me to my positions within cultural arts organisations, international development with NGO’s, supporting local women’s organisations in the Pacific and Asia and now The Equality Institute. These organisations have aligned closely with my values and I feel that the work being done is making a real difference.

What are you doing now? Do you like that?

I’ve just returned from a 4 month trip and am working here with this wonderful team, supporting the organisation as it continues to expand and develop.  It’s exciting to be involved in this growth stage, helping to build the organisations systems and structures for sustainability.  The flexible working conditions have allowed me to work from home as needed to look after my dog who has recently gone blind so I am very grateful that I am able to do that.

Does the patriarchy get you down? Like, do you ever just feel really annoyed by the way women get treated?

I see double standards and inequalities all of the time, particularly when travelling in developing countries but also just in everyday life with how women are treated and restricted.  I feel that we can all influence this though in our conversations with friends and family, by encouraging each other and continuing to push the boundaries where we see injustice in all levels of society.  The feminist movement has made huge strides recently and my hope is that this continues to gain momentum and create lasting change.

Who's your fave feminist icon?

I don’t know if you would call them feminist icons but Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall were very inspirational to me, doing what no women had done before in their field. Nelson Mandela really shaped my consciousness in the fight for human rights and equality for all.  On a more personal level I had quite strong women around me growing up and my Nan played a big part in that, always speaking her mind, being independent and encouraging. I don’t recall ever being told that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl but if I had been it probably would have made me want to do it even more!