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Neens: Hi, hello and welcome to this episode of the Rules are made up! Today you don’t just get to talk to myself, you actually get to also hear from Rebecca Jenkins who’s the founder of Where the Wild Women Are, a group membership here in New Zealand. I’m so stoked to have you on the podcast Rebecca, welcome!
Rebecca: Thanks for having me.
Neens: Gosh, of course, just when we start to hit record, I get a bit croaky nose in my throat [clears throat] UM, Rebecca and I actually are part of a local women in business group, which is a cool group where we can support each other as business owners and we sort of both got to share, you know, stuff that we’re working on, that we run or how we run our businesses and we thought it was a cool idea to actually, you know, record the chat basically and talk a bit about some of what Rebecca does and what she does with Where the Wild Women Are, so I’ll probably hand it over to you so you can maybe introduce a little bit about yourself and your background, I often I like calling it your origin story and yeah, we’ll take it from there.
Rebecca: Cool, thank you. Thanks for having me here Nina.
Uhm, OK, so a little bit about my background, well, where do I start?
In a former life I was actually in HR, so human resources and I owned my own business and that for seven years, I did around about 17 or 18 years in HR, including recruitment and things like that.
Neens: That’s a long time.
Rebecca: Yeah, it is a long time and in that I got a degree in psychology, a Graduate Diploma in HR and Health and Safety as well, so two separate things there and that kind of kept me busy for a really long time, until I got a little bit board and a little bit frustrated and a little bit burnt out to be honest so and things sort of started changing what I was doing and I was looking at things on basically how to get myself out of the little rush that I felt like I was in.
And I think most of us women actually get there at some point in our lives where we do feel like we’re in a bit of a rut and we don’t quite know what to do, we feel a bit lost, we’ve lost ourselves, we’ve forgotten what really makes us hum or brings us joy and I know lots of people are talking about the joy thing at the moment, but for me it was really important…
Neens: It’s so true though.
Rebecca: It is, it really is and it’s not necessarily that you have to go out of your way to change your entire life in order to find that joy, sometimes it’s just finding the little things that you actually appreciate and realize that actually brings you joy, that brings you joy. And so what I sort of started doing was I did a lot of reading, I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle, I read, you know, Michelle Obama’s book Becoming and really loved some of Oprah Winfrey’s sort of quote books and things like that. And just read and read and read. Read the book to overthinking, the book for perfection, everything that I can really.
Neens: It sounds, it sounds vaguely familiar [laughs]
Rebecca: I never actually quite finished that book to be honest, but UM, that’s one I keep meaning to go back to and never get there… But all these books actually were sort of a catalyst for me, they were to help me find the fix for me and upon reading them all, sort of realized one, I didn’t need fixing and two, basically I just needed to get out a bit more, I needed to find people that I could hang out with, I wanted to find new friends.
I’d moved from Tauranga to Cambridge five years ago, coming up five and a half now and it was just kind of like I really still did not have those people that I could say “Hey, do you want to catch up for a drink on Friday night or do you want to catch up for breakfast on Sunday?” You know I really just didn’t have that here in in Cambridge. And so it was really for me, it was about finding friends and finding things that made me happy in my life and that’s why I sort of started Where the Wild Women are because I realized I wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t the only woman who just got a little bit of sick and tired of cooking the same old meal every week, or every day and doing the washing, doing the same old thing without anything changing and what I realized the biggest thing was: something had to change and I was the one that had to do it. So that required me to get off my butt and actually go out and meet people and so I sort of started a little group called Where the Wild Women are and I just started it here in Cambridge ’cause I thought well Cambridge is where I live so I’ll start there, right, and before long we had 100 to 200 people in the group.
And then it sort of grew and grew and grew and then we had people from all over the Waikato coming into the group and wanting to be a part of it, but I thought…
Neens: Just quickly interrupt you in case anyone listening outside of New Zealand; the Waikato is a region and what we just talked about there are cities and little towns in in a specific region in the country. So just wanted to quickly jump in, sorry to interrupt you, but we do have a couple of people who aren’t familiar with NZ geography, so…
Ah that’s cool and yeah, so just being in the center I suppose of the North Island and we’re pretty lucky where we are because we’ve got beaches either side, so I decided that I would write a list of all the things I had always wanted to do, thought about doing but never did, anything that just sort of tickled my fancy and I came away with a list of about four pages long of all the things that I wanted to try, I wanted to do, I wanted to learn. I wanted to experience all those sorts of things and the biggest thing that I learned throughout the whole thing was that things don’t bring you joy, unless they help create an experience of joy.
And so the biggest thing that I figured out from here was if I went out and did things with people, I would not only find things that I would enjoy and have some exhilaration from, I would also meet people that were like minded because the people that would want to come on those things were also going to be the people that I wanted to hang out with.
So that was really important sort of catalyst for me and so I set it up and we just keep kept growing and it was a business coach that actually encouraged me to go nationwide and it really scared the bejesus out of me.
Neens: You can, you can swear if you’re swearing person by the way you can swear on this on this podcast. I usually do the explicit rating.
Rebecca: I will still like to keep it.
Neens: Yeah, that’s fine, and that’s totally fine.
Rebecca: Yeah, so I’m, I’ve just gotta remember where I was up to.
Yeah we went and did stuff, so we did paddleboarding initially, we had a dinner was our first ever event.
We did whitewater rafting, which I had actually done before, but I thought I would do it again ’cause it was just so much fun and I still enjoyed it and I was still really, really scared doing it, you know? Every time I do something, I’m still nervous, wven when I start an event and we do, we go around and introduce ourselves and you know, we usually have a, have a little question that we like to answer or whatever that is on the night and I still get scared even now after doing it for 18 months to actually put myself out there.
And I think that’s the biggest and the hardest thing to do, in what we do is putting yourself out there. And so I always take my head off to the ladies that do come, because it’s huge, it’s big getting out of the house. It’s big trying to find new friends. It’s big going somewhere you’ve never been before, and I think we just have to really, you know, give ourselves a good pat on the back for it.
Neens: Yeah, I think that’s, we and we don’t do that enough, right? You think that you know going somewhere new or you know, going to one of those events – for some people it might come a little bit easier ’cause they might be extroverted or they’re, you know, they’re people, people. Or, you know, it’s just something that they already know, that’s what they, you know they’re drawn to those kinds of events, but there are also people that I’ll probably put my hand up like myself are quite introverted. Who you know, like the perfect like time like night for me, is curling up on the couch with the puppy watching TV right? It’s not hitting the town or it isn’t even like maybe 1020 years ago it was meeting new people, going out clubbing all of that kind of stuff. But you know, it isn’t anymore. Like that’s probably an age appropriate thing, but once you do get old and I’m not a, you know I only have the puppy, I’m not a parent of a human at this point and so I can’t even, you know, I guess I can empathize with the, you know, losing yourself where you just have to put this other being top, left, right, and center.
You do take that step back, but then there’s a cost to that too, and a lot of us I think don’t realize that you know you kind of do lose yourself or that there is a chance that you can lose yourself if aware of it and then to actually reconnect to who you were, or to realize that maybe that isn’t even, that version of you doesn’t even exist anymore. And to find that new versions that is so scary because you’re kind of leaving behind what you’ve known.
Neens: Right, because you’re so used to your old friends or the group of people that you used to hang out with a lot and the things that you did and the places you went or the even having the ability to you know, just drive somewhere for the weekend.
Rebecca: The freedoms to just be able to do whatever you like, whenever you like, however you like. Yes, I think I think that’s the biggest thing is we don’t realize how big a change it is to bring human into the world and we see it from the movie perspective of everything being so hunky Dory.
But it’s actually really hard work, and it’s going to be a lifelong job. It doesn’t stop whether you go to sleep or not, because you bound to get woken up…
Neens: Sleep? I was about to say the little bit of sleep that that you get… [laughs]
Rebecca: Yeah, yeah. And I think we do change. We change significantly and I used to be quite a social person and I know that moving, having children, having a child, I’ve only got one (that’s enough)..
I’ve changed as a person and I don’t think, you can’t stop that from happening because these experiences that you have in life change you. Yeah, they give you a completely different perspective on what is important to you or what is a priority that you need to focus on.
And yet you’re still trying to sustain your life, and someone else, so it’s massive. It is massive. I just don’t think we give women in general enough for that for them to actually deal with that and cope with that. And I think that’s why we get such a high rate of post natal depression and depression in general. I think too that we’ve really lost our communities and we just don’t have the same connection to our communities like we used to. We move away so easily to different places, we’re away from family and we generally are used to now paying for that support. And we can’t always do that, not as a parent if you’re on one income or you are the only income, it just becomes a lot harder. I know that when I was single and a solo mum, you know Tinder was great, not for the fact that I could go out and date lots of people. It was because there was somewhere or some way I could talk to people and it wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to find someone, although I did, it was more the fact it was just a way of connecting with people, and that’s what we’ve lost.
Neens: Talking to another adult.
Rebecca: Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s what we’ve lost. We’ve lost that in our communities. We’ve lost the skill to be able to do that, and I fear for our children not being able to communicate because the only way that they’re gonna be able to speak is in Pidgin English, you know. Little things like that that we’ve become so used to doing, I mean, we’re really lucky we went through Covid, you know we had Zoom, but the biggest thing that’s come out of Covid is the increase in mental health issues, and that is because we lost our connections to humans.
So for me Where the Wild Women are is all about connection, it’s about building meaningful connections in our village of women so that we can actually know who we can support or who can support us. Because when it comes down to that’s all that matters really in life. That’s why we are being created or built.
Neens: Yeah, and it’s it’s that yeah, and so is a big part and it might be a good a good little segue ’cause I think you know like Xoom and having virtual communities is amazing, right? Like I think without the Internet, like I’ve met a lot of who I call good friends now and some of them, to this day I have not met face to face right that there are some people in in other countries, other continents (unfortunately) different time zones, that you know you, I think it’s amazing that when you do connect with people, depending on how you connect that you can still foster a very similar kind of like a deep connection and as much as I called myself an introvert and having a night away from people is my idea of a good time, that doesn’t mean that I hate people. I still like you know I enjoy being around people. I’m probably just very particular about the kind of people most of the time. So, but then I think Where the Wild Women Are there is a component, obviously you’ve got a bit of a virtual, you know, the virtual village sort of going on, yeah, but are there- I think you mentioned events and that before already, so is this sort of actual getting together in real life, but that face to face, whether that’s dinners or kind of day, things like whatever the activities that are that that you run as part of it is that, a sort of cornerstone of it? .
Rebecca: It really is because I think that yes, you know, our virtual lives now are bigger than they’ve ever been our whole entire lives and I still believe though, that that connection it face to face being able to see not only a person’s tone and pitch and all those other things that are important for us to understand, and part of that communication process, but also the body languages that we use and being able to actually touch someone and I know, not everybody likes being touched, but sometimes when you shake a hand or you do something like that, it builds a an instant connection that allows you to remember that person or it’s a bit like being vulnerable. When you have someone that you can be vulnerable with the bond that you create is more meaningful and it’s longer lasting as well.
And it’s been proven that that’s the case. So I think face to face is still really, really important, as a species in general, I think it is so I don’t think we’ll ever get away with it, but the idea of wild women is that we actually have those meetings, those times where we can talk about those things and the one thing I still think was really awesome was in the beginning and it still happens now, but we did paddleboarding and you know, we all got up there and did the paddle boarding and that was loads of fun, fell over and was the first one to do the wipeout thing and all that sort of thing. But what I loved and what made or brought me joy, was seeing these women on the boards, just in a nice little quiet space all talking and you know, here we were on these paddle boards talking and you can’t stop women from talking. It’s just part and parcel of what we do. It’s how we connect, it’s the words we use, the hand gestures it’s the you know, shearing of vulnerabilities of what you’ve been through and we’ve been lucky enough. I’ve had so many people come back to me and just say or tell me something that’s personal to them and I’ll never forget them and even now I bump into them into the in the supermarket or something like that and you know it’s an instant connection. It’s like. Your face lights up, you know you’re happy to see them and that’s what I wanted to be able to do. I live in a small town, anyway, I do know lots of people from the business realm, but I found I wanted that more personal touch.
So Where the Wild Women Are is about the personality, it’s the personal stuff. That’s the stuff that really matters. So yeah, and so I suppose that sort of describes what it is and how we do it. But basically the idea is that we do most of it from a Facebook group and we share our events in the Facebook group and on our website. Uhm, anybody, that’s female can come and join us.
Then we have a members group as well, so we’ve got our Members area as well. And that’s sort of a bit more, we do more retreat style experiences in there, we do workshops on building up the person, so one of those parts is unleashing your wild, ’cause obviously people, sort of think becoming wild as it was all about, you know, burning your bras or something like that. It’s not, it’s actually it’s about finding who you are on the inside.
Neens: And it’s a very individual thing, right? Even though you say wild, what’s wild for you will be wildly different than what wild means for me.
Rebecca: It is, yeah, definitely.
Neens: But that doesn’t mean that you know like both of us have a place in an opportunity to do that. That’s awesome.
Rebecca: And I think too that we as women need to learn how to raise each other up. I think we’ve had such a masculine, UM what’s the? Word uh? Masculine, not experience but…
Rebecca: It’s not, what’s the word, I can’t think of the word right now, darn it!.
But we’ve had such a masculine background, I suppose or the way that we’ve been all raised to be a bit boyish in some ways. And you know when we go into the workforce, we’ve got to be very strong and you know centered and we can’t do that, we’re women.
And it’s not a natural position for us to be in, whereas we’d rather collaborate and bring people in and talk to people and all those sorts of things.
And so I think for me, it’s about helping women understand what their wild is, but also helping them to understand that it’s OK to have some of those feminine things that make us feminine.
And I know from an HR perspective, the one thing that really sort of got to me was when I was in HR. I always had to be very stoic. And there were times where I actually just wanted to cry because a person was in his position where he was going to lose his job, which was gonna impact his family and it, I didn’t want it to be black and white that we didn’t consider the outcomes for him and that person and how we could actually improve their lives or or even just keep them in the fold and help them through whatever they were going through.
And I think that’s, that was that was the hardest part for me as an HR person and why in the end the confrontations constantly actually wore me down to the point that I was so burnt out I couldn’t get out of bed, and I think that also, it was proving to me that I wasn’t allowed to be who I naturally was either, which is a person that wants to build people up and to develop people so that they’re better than they were before. So in some ways, moving into Where the Wild Women Are has been more natural for me in many ways from my psych background and my human resources background, than I ever sort of imagined and at first I just didn’t think I was going to be good enough. Or suitable for this or the right person for this?
Neens: Good old imposter syndrome.
Rebecca: But the more and more and. Oh yeah, it shines in everybody even us successful people. Yeah, so yeah, for me it’s not. Not necessarily that we have to empower women, ‘cause I sort of get sick of cliched topics and titles and things like that sort of go, grates on me slowly.
Neens: They are helpful to, for people, that if people understand that language though I think it’s a good starting point to sort of, you know, kind of, reel them in a little bit and then to actually dive into “Well, actually it’s not really that, but it’s you know it’s actually, Well, here’s all the things that it is. It isn’t just this sort of cliché label that we apply to stuff. It actually is so much more than that, but it can, you know. With language and labels and things. It’s like as much as and I have it. I have a whole episode talking about how labels are not helpful, but then at the same time. They actually, to certain points they are helpful, they make life a little bit easier, but they’re not helpful when you use them to just create all these little boxes and drawers and you just try and shove everything and everyone into the box. It’s just helpful to have a common language, but not when you. when use that to limit yourself or other people but…
Rebecca: I agree, I also think too like it’s really important for us to realize that when we when we label something, sometimes we take its power away too. So that you know from the perspective of, you know, labeling a child with ADD, for instance, or ADHD – yes it might be able to help them with that, but that doesn’t make them who they are.
So it’s making sure that when we do label something, that the understanding is, is that it’s a generalization and I think sometimes because we get a bit lazy with our thoughts and our schemas so I think we just slowly slide into that that generalist sort of perspective rather than actually thinking, well, OK, let’s look at empowerment and what that means but also, what else does it include or doesn’t include that actually needs to be added, so it’s just me and my little passionate speech about that.
But then I’m pretty big on women’s rights, so I really find it a struggle when one of my friends is going through something and especially if it’s another woman that’s stomping on that person or making their life hard, I sort of get even more upset from the perspective of I just feel that us women should be really working together, doesn’t mean that we have to like each other all the time or agree with each other all the time.
But I do believe that we need to be there and support each other and really raise each other up so that you know.
One so that we’re not in the position that we are in society as a sub-submissive sort of part or role in society, but that we’re equal as well, and from the other perspective of you know, I don’t want to see my mum in poverty when she gets older. I don’t want to be in poverty when I get older and I want to see other women thriving, not just surviving and those sorts of things I’ve become quite passionate about, especially recently with the change with Roe versus Wade and how much it doesn’t seem to, you wouldn’t think it would have affect us here in New Zealand, but it does.
Neens: But it does and it does on multiple levels, right? I think I shared it at the time, like as it had what it was like Saturday morning here I think when we woke up to the news but I have. I have friends, you know in the US thankfully some of them are in states where they’ve already made sure that they’re protected, but I have a lot of them in other states, what I think are being called hostile states, so I personally know people who it may affect for whatever reason, and anyone with a uterus should be able to choose, right? For medical reasons, which includes mental health reasons by the way, let alone for, you know if it isn’t the right type like we should be able to choose like the government or anyone else shouldn’t be able to make that choice for another human being and as much as you know, on a personal level in terms of knowing people who it may impact, I think it’s a stupid thing to say that it wouldn’t impact us from a, you know. I think we’ve luckily had a law change not that long ago, that’s actually made it a health issue and decriminalized it.
Rebecca: Yeah, but I mean that was only two years ago.
Neens: Exactly and laws can change. I do believe that depending on who will be in government, I think it the bigger parties or the other party that isn’t in government has come out and said they wouldn’t change it even though you know a lot of their people have certain beliefs to the contrary, they wouldn’t, that wouldn’t be the first thing they do, but it’s still an option, and even the fact that it is an option is, that it can be an examples for other states…
Rebecca: I know and it’s really scary and I’ve really been sort of talking a lot about it and sharing a lot about what’s going on over in the US. But also just how it impacts us and it’s made me really clear about some of the things that I want to share within Where the Wild Women Are as well and that includes things like you know, knowing more about our own bodies and we do a big push on, you know, just understanding our own selves. This month we’re talking about health and well-being, and we’re talking about, you know, work and life balance and eating and sleeping and you know all those really important things.
what risks are we putting ourselves at, just even from over tiredness from not sleeping well enough and we’re getting in the car.
And so it’s really important for me that I see us as an education space for women, specifically for women that we have a place where we can actually go and find some of this information out, or at least we’re talking to experts on a regular basis about what’s important for us.
And we’ve got such a diverse sort of area, that it’s really you know we’re not a monotone sex so to speak, there’s so many levels of us and I think we have to realize and incorporate all of that into how we talk and speak to each other even and understand that diversity even within our sex is super important so that we can understand different people’s perspectives.
So yeah, so I’ve been very vocal about the abortion thing, but also just in general just we need to know what’s going on. We’ve sort of gotten a bit, what’s the word, complacent around women’s rights even here in New Zealand, we’ve still got lots of people doing some really great stuff. I’ve been to a number of really good lectures at Waikato University from the women studies or women and psychology studies, things like that and I just still think like we don’t, we think, oh, you know the hard stuff’s been done.
But it hasn’t, and we’ve only just sort of scraped the surface. You know, there’s still, you know a 15% equality gap and wages between a man and a woman.
There’s still, you know, huge amounts of poverty that is focused on women and children and elderly that we don’t talk about.
You know, guys are probably feeling a little bit bashed around at the moment, especially if you’re middle aged white men we know that it’s not necessarily your fault, but it’s just the fact that we want you to appreciate and understand, yeah.
Neens: It’s the system, right? It’s the. And it’s the system. And if you’ve been in this and I think it’s especially is white women, right?
Rebecca: We’ve had privilege ourselves.
Neens: We’ve lived in a system that was built and the systems being built to, you know, yes, even we may be at a disadvantage over cis white men. But then we still benefit from the same system, much more so than you know, indigenous people like Māori, Pacific Islanders anyone, other immigrants that come to New Zealand.
Neens: And you know, it’s hard. And as much as you know like that, we do the work, and a lot of the times that work isn’t necessarily visible to sort of try and understand, you know how that shows up, what that enables us to do, and what it means that we can do that, that other parts of our communities can’t. You know it’s hard sometimes to even to see that some of the other stuff is actually going on, because you’re just so used to your little bubble of you know, I guess of whiteness or you know like you’re just so used to the system that you don’t like you don’t necessarily, it takes a while, you don’t question it and it takes –
Rebecca: Got used to it…
Neens: You know it, maybe it takes events like stuff overseas or even locally to actually help wake you up a little bit or to kind of put almost like the put a crack in the in the glass, if it’s like a glass bottle or glass house, I don’t know, like it takes something takes, you start to see that or hold on, it isn’t all roses and sunshine and unicorns over here either, but I think what it does when things like this happen elsewhere? It does make me a night right like New Zealand is my chosen home I’m I migrated here from Germany 16 ish years ago, but still yes well not same same because it is a completely different culture but I still I grew up in a in a in a in a you know still in a in a system where I had a lot of privilege.
Not like I’m, you know, so me coming over here I was able to study here and I didn’t have to worry about financing that or you know any of that like what other immigrants might have to do.
But even then, I think you can be grateful when you know shit like Roe versus Wade happens elsewhere or you know, just law changes and events in other countries.
You can be grateful for living where you are and knowing that for now, certain rights are protected by law AND at the same time you can still lament some of the systemic failures in systemic issues that exist in the same country, like those both of those things you know multiple things can be true at the same time, so I think we can be, you know, grateful that we live in a country that at this point respects our right to choose and to make decisions over our own bodies. And that you know accepts marriage of you know, whatever gender you identify, it doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law, we can be grateful for that and we can still say there’s still so much more to do.
And there are so many problems we still have to solve, children going hungry at school. I think I saw a post in that group that we’re both in talking about, you know, putting together care parcels for a higher decile. School where children are going hungry. Right, it’s not just the in areas of lower, I can never say the word,
Rebecca: Socio economic
Neens: Such a hard word to say, but you know, it’s not like you’d think that’s sort of been the stereotype when actually you’re starting to see well hold on, it’s affecting children, else you know in what you would call more affluent areas we have. And I know most Western countries are probably the same, and if not most countries full stop. But the mental health system in this country is abysmal, I’m in a Facebook group for so ’cause I study so we have like some ways that we have is we have some very interesting similarities. ’cause I currently study psychology part time. And so I’m in a Facebook group of psych students and even the path to be kind like this. You know people complain about how shit the system is, like I just did, right the system is horrible here to get support you have to be in crisis for a long time to actually get the support that you need. Which is horrible unless you’re privileged enough to be able to pay for it.
Rebecca: Be able to pay for, I was going to say that yeah.
Neens: So you’d think maybe one of the things they do is make it easier to join the system on the other side so that you can help people, but it is so competitive and so hard and confusing to actually get to a path.
Rebecca: And takes just as long as a medical degree to get.
Neens: Which in some cases maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing ’cause you are you know, helping people navigate their health, but it should be a bit more clearer and a bit less confusing, and there should be more opportunities in terms of numbers than I think it’s like this. Link locally here at the UNI that I study at or at the because it which is Massey, I don’t know if it’s across the country or just in in on one of the campuses. They only take 20 students per calendar year.
And there’s like 100, over 100 that usually apply so. You know the willingness of people wanting to help is there, but we’re not making it. You know, the system is so broken that we’re not supporting them, and I think it’s again probably drawing a parallel to some of the work that you’re doing too is where you’re actually providing part of a support system, right for women to sort of, to figure some of that, but figured themselves out, but it was that you like your help because there is no other way, you know, not know ort of more senior. Not saying the government, should you know, do these kinds of things, but it’s clearly a sort of a gap that you know when the system when there is no actual village or a way for women to find each other to do this kind of stuff, that’s sort of the gap you’ve filled, as you’re providing a bit of that system or structure around you know, helping women to meet each other virtually and in person?
Rebecca: Well, I think that’s kind of one of my jobs from Where the Wild Women Are, and it was something that I spoke to my business coach just recently about.
About actually setting up a part on my website that can direct women to where they can find out or advocacy for whatever situation you’re going through, whether it’s employment or whether it’s something else you know that is impacting their lives. And I sort of said that to her, and she’s just sort of looked to me and she said “Oh Rebecca:, you’re gonna be so much more than you even realized”
You know it was quite funny, but it’s true, like I, I honestly wouldn’t know where to go if it wasn’t for the fact that my background is in psychology or who I would go and talk to or how to get involved in a in a counselor and usually I just start asking questions and people go, “Oh these this and there’s that” and it was like does anybody else know this information or is it just a you know shared between 5 or 10 people? And I think that’s one of my other sort of roles as Where the Wild Women Are, and we’re actually in the middle of developing it now since just Roe and Wade, because I realized how important it was for us to know where we can go for help is to build, you know a similar document that I got sent through from an American and.
Neens: Where to go. What you can do?
Rebecca: All this stuff and I’m like “Oh my God why don’t we have one of those in New Zealand?” We probably do, but I don’t know how to reach it. And so yeah, so I’m actually in the middle of developing one for New Zealand because I just feel that it’s such a useful piece of information, you know why don’t we have that information available?
And I was really lucky when I was in HR, we did a lot with them in the domestic violence laws came in because people were like freaking out as people usually do when new laws come in, they were like “Oh my God, they’re gonna make us do this, this and this and we you know so many people are gonna be taking this leave and you know and getting, really tizzed up about something that’s not even really worthy of that. And it worked out to be that in Australia when they set up the Domestic Violence Act, only .02%. So I’ll say that again, .02% of the population has actually accessed their domestic violence leave. You know we’re talking, you know 100,000 people, 200,000 people in a country that’s 20 or 30, about 30 million people.
Neens: Which is still, you’d argue that’s still too much.
Rebecca: Probably 100000, probably a bit too much, but I’m not, I haven’t calculated it right.
Neens: Well, even though I mean in general, like if it’s more the fact that 100,000 people have had to access that, because that means they’re going through a horrible time, yeah.
Rebecca: Difficult times, which just means it comes back to you know. Domestic violence is a power and control situation with someone trying to take power over someone else, and it’s usually a male over a female. I’m not saying it’s always, but I’m saying usually it’s a male over female and from my own perspective with domestic violence, that was the case. And I know how hard and how scary it is to get out of that and I also know I didn’t know who to go to, you know, it’s only the fact that I then got involved with it through Shine and places like that that came and did some training with us and I actually had to force our CEO to do that training because he did not want to do it.
And he was one of the worst CEOs I’ve ever worked with as well, you know it’s just doing little things like that that actually make everybody else feel safer, and he wasn’t prepared to do it. And I said to him, if he didn’t go, he’s gonna be in big trouble and he went but you know it was with a lot of trepidation and, you know, sort of twisted arm up his back to be able to do that, and that’s the problem is, there’s always going to be, there’s always going to be those people that think “it doesn’t include me”.
But it includes everybody with things like this, domestic violence and things that affect women and put them into poverty and put them into you, know, health crisis and all those sorts of things, the same with abortions, you know, these are all health issues. These are all things that make people’s lives shit and that’s what we’ve got to try and fix?
Neens: Yeah, because I think, you know you sometimes depending on, sometimes it depends on how it’s packaged up as well, but depending on how you read about it, you sort of go ‘it’s just this one you know, like it’s this thing, but we’re, like humans are very complex species, I guess, but our lives, it all intersects right, it’s not like you can put your relationship thing over here and then your work issues you know in some other box and then you know
Rebecca: Yeah, we don’t compartmentalize very well at all.
Neens: And it sometimes depending on so even, and I guess maybe taking it back to, you know, similar sort of spaces like Where the Wild Women Are or you know, sort of support groups or even depending on how people package some of the sort of you know improve self improvement, personal growth and development, kind of stuff and empowerment stuff, sometimes it can read like or. You know, depending on who writes it as well, it reads like it is in a box somewhere, right? And somehow you just go on this thing and then you know you just work on this one area and everything will be better, but it’s actually.
You gotta take like you’ve got to look at the entire life of that person and the circumstances that they live in and the situation that they live in right? Because even, let alone, we could go off on a tangent again in terms of, there’s this thing called social determinants of health, right, things like where you live, you know how safe is your neighborhood or the area that you live in?
Do you live by yourself? Do you live with family? How big the family you know, are you solo mum are you? Are you in a relationship? What’s that relationship like? All of those things, let alone work stress, how you have to get to work. If you have a job in the first place, all of those things impact us and you know as much as they make us who we are, they also impact how we can you know, pursue change or growth but they also just, they impact us on a on a deeper level and sometimes just talking about oh, you just go, you know, just do this one thing over there. That’s not how it, that’s not how it works. You need to look at the entire picture.
Rebecca: Well, you can have two people doing the same thing can’t you? And one person will be able to succeed at it, whereas another person won’t be able to. And the reason why they won’t be able to is because they just can’t cope or they just can’t, you know they can’t do that they haven’t got the support mechanisms or all those other little things that actually make it so important for us to live a healthy and well-adjusted life.
You know it’s even just the same as you know children out of out of solo parents, that live in a solo parent family are more likely to be in poverty.
You know they don’t have two parents that are lovingly looking after them and providing for them, so they’re already on a 50% deficit. If you want to look at it from that point of view and so you’ve got to really look at the holistic approach of when you know, give someone help and things like that, and while they may know exactly what they need, they may not know how to get it, and that’s where you know people can step in and be that support mechanism, or be their advocate for them or whatever it is that they need, yeah.
Neens: Provide the resources, yeah? And even you know, providing resources doesn’t always mean you know. Putting programs in place or anything like that. It could be as simple as here’s a list of different. Here’s an organized. Here’s a list of organisations to reach out to donate to or to, you know, volunteer for or. You know anything or just? Here’s a list of organizations that if you ever I need of finding one of those, now you know a place where you can go where it gets updated. Right, so that’s pretty.
Rebecca: I think the biggest thing for my for from my perspective someone asked me. They see to me. Why hasn’t the war in Ukraine upset you as much people are dying there. And I and I sort of thought about that and I didn’t actually have an answer for him straight away, and it wasn’t until afterwards I went because the war in Ukraine is something so foreign to me, I don’t really understand what it is to be at war. But I totally understand what it is to be a mum, to have a child to, to have to go through the loss of a child, I had a miscarriage when I was younger and all those sorts of things so the abortion thing really hit home to me because it could happen to me even at my age, you know, and I’m 42 now. You know it can happen to me, I had one of my employees, uh, a year or two ago who kept having eggtopic pregnancies to the point where she had one of her fallopian tubes removed and she’s since had a baby. But she had three miscarriages in a very short space of time, and one of them had to be aborted. If women don’t have that sort of health care and that ability to be able to move on from trauma or anything like that. How are we ever supposed to be able to be human or grow or develop or you know, show love or affection to other people. There’s so many things that could just completely destroy the way that we see things in our lives and that’s what upset me. It was the fact that it was so close to home that it could impact the people I love and care about, including myself. So why wouldn’t you do something about it?
Neens: And if you are in a, maybe we can wrap it up, you know if you are in a position where you can, like why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you speak up about it? Share the resources, create a resource and support people that have to go through that.
Which is the one other thing that gets me, it’s like this is not a decision that some of that, right today I’m just gonna do this like it’s not one of those decisions.
Rebecca: No, it’s a tough decision.
Neens: Right, it’s a it’s a horrible decision to make. Not that I’ve had to make it, but It I can imagine it it’s not a decision that you make lightly at all.
Rebecca: I don’t think any woman would.
Neens: No, especially if it actually happens to be in a case where it’s much wanted. And you have to, you know it ends up that’s that what you have to do but even if it is a choice for various reasons, it’s not an easy decision. I think no one relishing in the fact that they have to make it.
Rebecca: Yeah, I I just can’t. I can’t understand how people want people to go through such health crisis is before they would help heal that person or you know from that perspective even just you know what is it, the Hippocratic Oath that doctors have you know, why would you want a woman get to a point where she’s almost gonna die before you’d step in and try and help.
So for me it’s always been about healthcare. It’s always been about, you know even just, you know doing workshops and things I don’t want to do too many of those ’cause I feel like we’ve already got enough on our plate, we don’t need anymore, we just want to be able to come together and yeah and have some fun at that to me, I think the most important thing.
Neens: Yeah, and I think it’s also very important that as much as I feel like the last 10, 15, 20 minutes have been a bit on the on the heavier side, it is important to talk about though, ’cause I think we need to keep even, and I think even for us we’ee both in Aotearoa, although we’re not directly impacted as such by what’s going on, I think it’s still important even just to talk about it, right and to keep talking about it, ’cause then it stays front of mind right. It stays, not just for us, but even to the people listening, you know, if someone listens to this in six months a year’s time, who knows what will have changed, but it’s still important to talk about these things ’cause otherwise that’s probably part of, you know, if you and that’s one way to get complacent is if you don’t keep bringing it front of mind.
Rebecca: Exactly, I agree.
Neens: Right, so I think that’s a good and and the other thing I think I was actually going with it is also as much as it has been a bit of a heavier topic. And maybe just to bring it back to the group and what you do and the trips and the things and events you organize.
Joy is a way to like, it’s almost like you know where there’s darkness you have to bring in the lights as well and you have to, you know for especially if you’re someone who you know, wants to advocate for others, wants to help change the system and make a dent in other people lives, finding your own light and joy and as you know cliche as that just sounded, that’s incredibly important, ’cause if you don’t, you know if you need to take care of yourself. I’d argue you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of, you know…
Rebecca: Anybody else?
Neens: Family, let alone anybody else and running these group events, I mean, I can only talk about organizing events at my at my full time job, which is a mission most of the time and it’s just sort of, you know, it’s somewhat constrained in the scenes, but you know, like the stuff that the work that you do. Sounds amazing and fun, but I’m sure there’s also some, you know the, admin-y things or some of it. You know it might not be as it’s fun, but you know you need, you still need to make sure you find your own joy as part of and I know you know, putting on the event as a whole, it’s probably you know it brings you joy. That’s why you started it probably to a certain degree, but you know you need to we need.
Rebecca: I don’t like the organizing all the time.
Neens: I love organizing things, I don’t know if you see the different calendars on behind me with like dates and lists things you need and then organizing help, let me know
Rebecca: We have this lovely Carla for that, she’s great.
Neens: But you know, we do need to, you know I think it’s been something that I’ve seen like content creators in the states share, it’s like joy and bringing, you know, finding joy in amidst all the horror going on is almost like that’s a form of resistance almost to say yeah, you can make all the you know you can do all this horrible stuff, but we’re still gonna also have fun as much as that’s possible. And so I think it’s just really important, you know. And it’s not about being positive all the time or being happy all the time and you know, being joyful all day long, but just to you can’t be in is actually.
That, and there’s an amazing book I read not that long ago called Toxic Positivity, it’s written by a therapist which is actually really, really brilliant and I’ll put a link in the show notes anyone wants to read it, but it was really good but it’s about, you know it’s walking that line, especially on the days that you do work on some of the stuff that is it is hard or that impacts you on an emotional level to still then also do something else, it makes that that puts that smile on your face, right?
Whether that is walking the puppy or playing with the cat or putting, you know, going paddle boarding with a group of like-minded women. It can take many different shapes and forms right but I wanna I wanna hear a little bit more about the kind of events so that you’ve talked about the rafting and the paddle boarding. But it sounds really outdoorsy, which is probably I mean
Rebecca: We do a big mix, yeah?
Neens: New Zealand is a good country to do outdoorsy things in, I will say that but I wanted to ask if you do other types of events.
Rebecca: We do, I mean, in in winter it’s not so nice, although it’s not snowing in the North Island here, oh.
Neens: No, it’s very, I can usually see a hill out my window and I can’t see it right now, it’s within the clouds so…
Rebecca: No, it’s a bit, it’s a bit wintery today, it’s definitely cold and it’s been raining a lot here in the Waikato
Neens: Same in Wellington.
Rebecca: Oh yeah you’re down there
Neens: It’s been windy too.
Rebecca: It’s our windy city
Neens: It’s been a typical Wellington winter day of gray and wind and wet so, yeah…
Rebecca: Well what we do, it depends on where we are in our seasons. So obviously in summer, yes we do a bit more watery ones a bit more outdoorsy ones and in winter we come indoors a bit more. So we’ve done things like the adventurous stuff like rock climbing or we’ve even done clay bird shooting this year. Uhm, what have we done? I mean, we’ve done things like pottery, like learning to do some pottery come whether it’s just painting. We’ve done some wine with painting, painting with wine. We’ve done that. What else have we got? We’ve got a make up class in the Waikato, you know this time round.
We’ve got a couple of women up in Auckland that have done chocolate making and so they went and did a chocolate class and it’s always different depending on the region because not always can we get in when we want to or there’s not, might not be something on and that or the cost is really prohibitive like we can go and do whitewater rafting here just out in Rotorua and it will cost around about $70 or $80 per person, depending on how big your group is, whereas when we tried to do that down in the Hawkes Bay, it was gonna cost us $200 because they do it over a longer period and it’s a bit of a longer river and so the cost changes and it really depends on what is the impacts and we try and keep everything under $100 because we feel that most people, and that’s the idea most people can afford to do what we do on a regular basis and so we aim between $50 and $100 for all of them and we generally hit that target. There’s only a couple of times that we’ve gone over it and we we’re organizing a dolphin trip so that you go and swim with dolphins down in Akaroa, but we just didn’t get enough people and that was sort of Covid and all that sort of stuff, so we had to cancel that but we’re going to try that again next summer because we know, well, one we want to be in a slightly warmer season for going swimming down in the South Island but too because you know we want it to be good weather as well so that people actually want to get out.
Uhm, so we’ll try some things again if it didn’t work out or we’ve had to cancel it for weather related reasons or COVID related reasons as well. Gosh, what else have we got?
We’ve got lots coming up. They’re always on our website and they’re always in our Facebook page, so we’ve got two Facebook groups, one is absolutely free to join, and that’s called our Where the Wild Women Are nationwide group.
And that one is purely just, we don’t do a lot of spamming or anything like that, it’s just event based sort of stuff so if you’ve got any questions about our events or anything like that, then that’s the best place.
And then we’ve actually got our page which I love our page because we start having some really meaty conversations on here, especially recently in light of events, we’ve had some really great conversations from men and women which has been great and that’s usually where I like to go and just put my little happy smiley face on.
And because usually I try and keep it quite lighthearted, it’s more about you know things that make me feel joy or make me think “Ah that’s actually a really good point to remember”, you know, and sometimes we just need reminders of what’s really important to us and it’s been often I’ve received a message from one of the ladies in the group going “do you know I just needed to hear that today” or “did you know this is this is what I needed”, so that’s sort of more of our I say light hearted but it hasn’t been the last week or two, but that’s our lighthearted place.
And yeah our Queens group that’s more, this is where we do sort of more of our education stuff that’s more about what do you need in your life at the moment? What do you want to talk about? What are the conversations that you want to start? Or topics that you want to hear more about from an expert?
So yeah, we’re sort of looking at…
Neens: And so that that Queens Group is the membership?
Rebecca: The paid membership.
Yeah yeah, but also in that our goal is to start talking to everyday woman about their lives and you know these stories, so I really want to hear women’s stories and it doesn’t have to be this big amazing, you know big whoosh of success or anything like that.
Neens: Yes, all the things I’ve done. Which can be inspiring, right that that that stuff can be inspiring I think, and it’s helpful to see those stories to see what’s possible, but I think I’m equally that I found I’m equally moved, if not more by…
Neens: The relatable stuff that people having to go, you know even as much as it, as painful as it is, probably for them to talk about into sharing and to be vulnerable and share it, but to read about people overcoming horrible, horrible situations, or having the odds stacked against them and you know being and not necessarily the it’s not even about the coming out of the other side part, which I guess that you know that is apart and that’s a good thing to and it’s worthy of celebrating. But it’s even the how they navigated that that that in between there’s a lot of the times I find as weird as this is about to say, I think that’s where a lot of the good stuff is though in terms of some of those stories right ’cause, the end, the success story is worth celebrating 100%. But the how that happened and whatever we even define as success ’cause it will look different for all of us too, I think
Rebecca: And I think sometimes we don’t think our stories are important, yeah?
But those stories are extremely important because that’s what makes up our culture. That’s what makes up our language that makes us who we are today and who the next generation are gonna be.
The impact is so much more far reaching than we give ourselves credit. Or even us little everyday people, you know and those are the stories I want to hear more about and I want to do that as a mix of sort of experts as well in their field, you know, and we are going to talk about things like sex and masturbation and things like that that we don’t talk about.
Neens: Shit we don’t talk about
Rebecca: We don’t talk about, but I also want to talk about other things like you know, what is a healthy relationship and what does that look like for us, what do we know when we’re sort of need to bring that back into these are our boundaries and lots of other things that are equally as important for me as a person, not just as a woman, yeah, so yeah, from my perspective that education that that conversation, I don’t want it to stop but it is very hard to bring that altogether without lots of help, and I do, I have lots. Of help to be able to do this.
Neens: It sounds like you’ve started something really awesome.
Rebecca: Rather big.
Neens: That too, it has grown into something rather big, but that that just shows that it’s needed, right? Women in New Zealand need it right and that’s why it’s grown, is because there’s a need in a market for it, which you know from the business, is that was that language, but uhm.
Well, we’ve been chatting for a while and ended up going faster than I thought. So we might bring it to a close soon but before we do that, and what I’m about to ask, yeah, I’ll chuck it all in the show notes anyway, so that people can, you know, don’t have to frantically type it down on their phones and they can just click on links, but where can our listeners find you on the Internet?
Rebecca: Sure, and so if you head to Facebook and just search up Where the Wild Women Are NZ and you’ll find us. And same for on Instagram, you’ll find us in there too. Little under links on all of those, yeah underscores, just to be difficult and.
Neens: I’ll make it easy in the show notes, you can just click on it.
Rebecca: And then our website is wherethewildwomenare.co.nz or .com. So you can find us both ways we’ve got those across the board. But yeah, come and find us, we are always happy to start conversations, it might get carried away a little bit and off topic, but that’s OK.
Neens That’s fine, ends up going where it needed to go.
Rebecca: Yeah, it’s been great talking to you, Nina. It’s been really lovely.
Neens: Thanks Rebecca, it’s been it’s been a really cool chat I think, and I think you know we did go down some rabbit holes but I think it’s worth, they’re topics and things we need to talk about. Even if you know we
Rebecca: I think we’re women, so those are topics that matter to us.
Neens: Exactly, and it’s worth, you know, but it’s worth talking about and whether or not you know in a forum like this or in a forum like the one that you provide for people to have those conversations too, right? The important part is that we’re having the conversation so on that deep heavy note, we’ll finish off this podcast thank you so much to you for listening and I’ll see you? Hear you on the next episode and until then, stay curious.