International Women's Day: Press for Progress

International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8 with the theme for 2018 to press for progress - a call to motivate and unite communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. 

In a South West first, a symposium will be held on March 10, hosted by the South West Women’s Health and Information Centre to celebrate engage and empower women throughout the region. 

South West Women’s Health and Information Centre manager Leslie Jackes said she hoped those who came along on the day would leave feeling inspired and reflective.

“The theme is women as we age, identity and transition and everyone we’ve asked to perform or speak for us is weaving that theme throughout,” she said. 

“Identity is being aware, being aware of the challenges to identity – use of language, sexism, racism, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, stereotyping, labeling.

“We’re celebrating diversity of age, background, culture and point of view and presenting a fabulous diversity of women of quite an age range and we’re saying that continued communication positively with women, continued awareness, vigilance, education and support all contribute to a more positive future for women.”

The all-day event is being held at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre with more than 30 female presenters and performers taking part from around the South West including Gloria Dann, Bella Burgemeister and Helen Shervington as well as the ABC’s Sabrina Hahn and American political scientist Karen Paget. 

“There are many protective factors for your identity such as reaching out to your community, education, support and many more that we will cover on the day,” Ms Jackes said. 

“We are also looking at the topic of transition and so a lot of women who are coming will be talking about how they’ve transitioned through life.

“Patsy Malloy will be talking about a vision for women in 20 years and if we have a vision we need to do something today to make sure our vision for women is going to be how we want it in 20 years time.”

Ms Jackes said the centre had always commemorated International Women’s Day in its 22-year-long history.

“It’s an ongoing responsibility for all of us to acknowledge the role of women and commemorating International Women’s Day every year enables us to look at the emerging challenges for women at any age,” she said.  

“International Women’s Day is a way of thinking about some of the challenges that change with the decades, it’s never over, the challenges are constantly there and vigilance is vital.”

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