60 Seconds with Alejandra Pineda, PVAW Project Officer

Alejandra Pineda is a Prevention of Violence Against Women Project Officer at MCWH
Alejandra Pineda is a Prevention of Violence Against Women Project Officer at MCWH

What is the best part of your day?
I enjoy the ritual of drinking my very first cup of coffee at home, while reading the news and watching the red-orange sunrise from my balcony.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a woman from an immigrant or refugee background?
Discrimination at work. In some workplaces, co-workers and managers have underestimated my capacity to deliver or take on leadership roles because I am a young woman with a foreign accent. It has been interesting working in mostly Anglo-Australian environments where I ticked the diversity box. I used to feel like I had to prove myself and work twice as hard as my “Australian” co-workers to show that I could do the job just as well as or better than them. It was satisfying to see their surprised reactions when they saw my work - I wanted to say to them, “yeah, what did you think? You shouldn’t have underestimated me!”

In saying this though, I do acknowledge that my racial ambiguity has given me some privilege in that people, employers can’t stereotype me as quickly.

For you, what’s the best thing about being a woman from an immigrant refugee/ background?
I like how resilient we are. The capacity we have to embrace new experiences and challenges with an open mind and open heart is huge. We do not shy away from challenges. We are big dreamers and doers.

If you could meet the Prime Minister tomorrow, what would you like to tell him?
I could meet the Prime Minister tomorrow, I would like to tell him that the government needs to take the spread of COVID-19 more seriously and put in place measures to protect people, especially migrant and refugee women and those on temporary visas with no access to Medicare or a stable income. Also, it’s undeniable that COVID-19 is a gendered issue. Reports from China and Italy have shown that social isolation and lockdown measures have increased the incidents of violence against women and family violence.

Can you share some tips on how you are taking care of yourself during physical distancing?
I think it's important to to stick to a routine when working from home. I try to keep morale up by:
-    having my morning coffee and reading the news
-    going for my usual run (or doing a home workout)
-    allocating a space for a home ‘office’ with good natural light
-    staying in touch with co-workers on MCWH’s virtual office
-    making and eating lunch with my mum who is currently visiting me
-    going for a walk after I finish work with my friend/neighbour’s dog
-    reading The Cut and listening to the MCWH Spotify playlist!

I’m also trying to keep in touch with my friends and family via phone or video, and aim to read those books that have been sitting on the shelf!

Finish this sentence: We (still) need feminism because… we are still fighting for equality.