Why is Alyce Mokrzycki so passionate about women? “Well,” she says, “I have a vagina.” But, that’s not all.
Alyce explains: “Humans spend a huge amount of time trying to understand the people around them and we all constitute ourselves in different ways. Journalism can help develop awareness and empathy, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to empower other women by helping to tell their stories.”
The Master of Arts in Advanced Journalism student credits her recent trip to India, as part of the Foreign Correspondent Study Tour in partnership with SBS, as an opportunity to put on her “big girl journalist pants”, and see the sisterhood that is “well and truly alive in India.”
The study tour is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-India Council. And it sees students file real news stories, with real deadlines, on the ground and undertake industry visits, journalism training and meetings with experts in the field.
The experience, says Alyce, “Challenged me to achieve things I never thought I was capable of.”
In less than two weeks, she helped tell the stories of women who burn their sanitary pads to avoid shame and handle waste, and of workers in a restaurant completely managed by differently-abled persons. Not to mention talking about menstrual cups with leaders of non-government organisations, Shecup and Stonesoup, and dancing the night away with African immigrants in a nightclub on the outskirts of Bangalore.
But it wasn’t Alyce’s first trip to the subcontinent. At the age of 15, she tackled a once-in-a-lifetime hike in Nepal led by Tashi Tenzing – the grandson of Tenzing Norgay, one of the first people to summit Mount Everest.
Alyce says, “It made me realise how relatively privileged we are and that humans exist on a rich and varied spectrum.”
It’s also why Alyce expects this study tour to be another turning point in her life, despite warnings about unwanted male attention and the risk of Delhi belly.
“I can happily report that I didn’t fall ill and found the men in Bangalore to be amongst some of the most considerate and respectful I’ve met in all my travels. The stereotypes perpetuated in the western media are real, but only to a limited extent.
“Having your wits about you but being open to every experience is part of being a great journalist, no matter where you are in the world.”
Recognising this is arguably a good start to a great career which (fingers-crossed) will include working internationally, having her own Louis Theroux-style documentary and authoring many books.
And if that’s not enough, she’s hoping to “find a way to eat cheese without becoming a blob.” But, aren’t we all?