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Author Heather Rose used her Stella Prize win to highlight challenges faced by successful women, as the hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear takes off on social media.
Alyssa Braithwaite

19 Apr 2017 - 1:26 PM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2017 - 1:26 PM

When Tasmanian author Heather Rose won the Stella Prize for women's writing with her novel "The Museum of Modern Love", she used her victory speech to talk about the tougher path to success that female authors often have to travel.

The author of seven books spent 11 years writing the novel that nabbed the $50,000 prize, while busy with "three children, the normal demands of family life, a business to run, commitments I made to community and sport".

She told the crowd at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Tuesday night that successful women are often not well supported. 

Some men are intimidated and resentful when women step into their magnificence. Being a successful woman is not an easy path.

"I think it’s hard to feel success as a woman and possibly even harder if you are an Australian woman. With success comes a perception of power. And power in women is something we have yet to wholeheartedly welcome and embrace in Australia," Rose said.

"Some of us have wonderful men who delight in our success, and do all they can to support us. Others do not. Some men are intimidated and resentful when women step into their magnificence. Being a successful woman is not an easy path."

She closed by saying that the prize plays an important role in recognising and championing women.

"Encouraging and applauding the success of women might become an elegant and subversive act of cultural freedom," she said.

"An act that with unflinching determination we use to redefine our social landscape and realise our human potential. So that women and men in all their endeavours – in the arts, business, sport, health, education, politics, trades, media, sciences and domestic life – are equally respected, equally safe, equally heard and equally celebrated."

It's a theme familiar to many female writers, who have been highlighting the sexism they face with the hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear.

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