Illawarra residents invited to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 on March 8

Aunty Joyce Donovan.

Aunty Joyce Donovan.

Empowerment and healing are among the topics set to be discussed at an International Women’s Day event. 

Illawarra residents are invited to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 on March 8 at the Nan Tien Temple’s Auditorium. 

The Australian Centre for Leadership for Women will host the event.

Kiama’s Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, director of ACLW will facilitate the program, which seeks to profile and celebrate the unique leadership of women in the Illawarra.

The keynote speaker will be Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services.

The program will also include a panel of Illawarra female leaders.

Panelists include Wodi Wodi Elder Aunty Joyce Donovan; Rebecca Schmidt, a StrokeSafe ambassador for the Stroke Foundation Australia and board member of the StrokeSafe Consumer Council; and Elinor Stephenson, school captain at Smith’s Hill High School in Wollongong.

Gerringong resident Aunty Joyce also formerly held the position of Aboriginal engagement officer at Kiama council. 

She said key topics she planned to discuss included empowerment and healing.

“I like to talk about healing. Regardless of what walks of life we come from, many people need healing. Having an understanding of that’s part of our well-being.

“International Women’s Day is trying to give back to the community. Not necessarily just the Aboriginal community. I think the whole community, regardless of where you come from, it’s about trying to give back, and that’s part of our healing.

“I know that in my community and in many Aboriginal communities, we’ve always had that great saying that ‘women are the backbone of our community’. 

“A lot of our women in the past have been in the background, and I think it’s great to highlight our women, and to say, ‘we are the backbone in many cases’.

“Empowerment is the most wonderful thing to see, and that doesn’t matter what community you come from, what colour you are, what religion or race. Together we can achieve so much empowerment.”


Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey.

Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey.

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