As the famous Australian song says: “We are one, but we are many and from all the lands of earth we come. We’ll share one dream and sing with one voice”.
I was fortunate to attend UN Women National Committee Australia’s International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast, celebrating the theme 'Leave No Woman Behind' with an agenda of highlighting the humanitarian and crisis initiatives of UN Women.
I am extremely grateful that strong women run in my family. They are pillars of inspiration. My mum took parental responsibility for her three younger siblings at age 12, as my Grandma was working two jobs to keep the family afloat. This escalated a few years later when my Grandma suffered a severe stroke and lost use of both her left arm and leg. She was given three years to live, but her determination and tenacity saw her exceed that milestone by 40 years.
On my dad’s side, my Grandma left London in 1945 to move her young family to Townsville, QLD at the age of 23. For the next 13 years she raised six kids in a wooden army tent and is still living in Townsville today.
It is this strength that has been passed down to me, giving me the belief that I can walk in their footsteps.
I am also reminded of the upcoming NAIDOC theme for 2018, Because of her, we can! I am a proud Wiradjuri woman and I take pride in the many strong, resilient and determined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women that have kept their families, communities and culture strong. I am fortunate that through my work, I am able to build strong relationships with these women as they continually inspire me. I am so proud to be part of the oldest culture in the world. This strength and resilience has seen us through over 60 thousand years.
Last year, I began my MBA at the University of Sydney Business School. I know that I am standing on the shoulders of all those women that have gone before me and I strive to lead a path for those women that are continuing to emerge.
IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. There is absolute power in honouring the women who drive our communities, economies and nations. Accordingly, we should also be highlighting the ambitions of the maligned women that are often restricted to the shadows. Another powerful role model has taught me the power of gathering women across the globe to place dignity on them, lift their heads and give them a hope and a future.
Next month I will be undertaking a Trek for Rights in Nepal raising funds for UN Women NC Australia and witness first-hand the courageous and resilient Nepali women who are rebuilding their communities after two devastating earthquakes.
Friday’s breakfast delivered powerful speeches and panel discussions on what we, as a company of women and men, can change together. For progress and sustainable prosperity, women need equal seats at the table. We need our voices heard and valued. Executive Director of UN Women NC Australia, Janelle Wiessman, detailed experiences of the influence women are having at the peace table.
I was so happy to discover that there is to be another strong Indigenous woman joining the MBA program next semester. I am encouraged by the University’s commitment to bringing together women and men of all backgrounds and experiences.
Yes we are one and many. Yes, we come from all the lands of earth. Yes we have a dream.
It is that no one gets left behind.
Make a tax-deductible donation for Katie’s Trek for Rights in Nepal today.