International Women's Day 2024

The women making a difference at the Charles Perkins Centre

1 March 2024
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024
Charles Perkins Centre members reflect on International Women’s Day: their personal and professional experiences, barriers and support, and what this recognition day means to them.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, marked annually on 8 March. Established at the start of the 20th century, and growing out of the labour and suffrage movements, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality worldwide.

The UN International Women’s Day theme for 2024 Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. focuses the lens on understanding inclusion and what we can do to improve access to leadership, to earn, to learn and how whole communities thrive. UN International Women’s Day works for a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination to achieve a community that is equitable and inclusive. 

Our Charles Perkins Centre members reflect on International Women’s Day, on their personal and professional experiences of inclusion, who inspires them and who they have inspired, the barriers they've met and support they've received. They explore how conversations about equality and equity are still very much a necessary part of the ongoing quest to redress disparity and build a community where difference is valued and celebrated.

The recognition day is also celebrated with a very special breakfast event on Friday 8 March Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. presented by our CPC EMCR Initiative, our Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Charles Perkins Centre. Join Ms Emma Bryant, Associate Professor Melkam Kebede, Dr Rosilene Ribeiro and Professor Jakelin Troy as they explore pathways to equal access to education, employment, financial services and literacy, and how can we ever hope to reach gender equality?

Meet the women making a difference at the Charles Perkins Centre as they explore what #IWD2024 means to them


Professor Monika Bednarek

Professor of Linguistics | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Charles Perkins Centre Research Group Leader Health in the media

“Visibility and participation are important for inclusion and equity, but we also need to interrogate the systems and structures that we are working in and the values that underpin them. Those I find inspiring show a willingness to step back, to admit to having got it wrong, and to genuinely listen to under-represented voices, going beyond the purely performative.”

Dr Kirstine Bell

NHMRC Early Career Fellow | School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node Leader Type 1 diabetes

“I’m so lucky to have found and surrounded myself with inspiring women for my entire career. They have been friends, family, colleagues, mentors, role models and idols. They have taught me to dream big, paved the way forward for me, entrusted me with amazing opportunities, walked alongside me and supported me as I had my two kids and continue to navigate work and home life. I Iove my family and my research career but it is challenging to juggle both, so I’m so thankful for those who make it possible. I hope I can pay it forward to the women and girls in my life.”

Associate Professor Kim Bell-Anderson

School of Life and Environmental Sciences | Faculty of Science
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node leader The mechanics of development programming 
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node collaborator Gut microbiome
Charles Perkins Centre Diversity and Inclusion Committee member

“Women are naturals when it comes to building enduring relationships and networks. They are the social glue of our communities. Strong women support and connect other women with an understanding of the collective work to be done to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion in patriarchal systems. Leveraging our interpersonal skills for collaboration is something that can never be taken from us or replaced by artificial intelligence and I believe it is the key to taking things to the next level.”

Dr Cristyn Davies

Research Fellow, Specialty of Child and Adolescent Health, Sydney University Clinical School, Children's Hospital at Westmead
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node collaborator Implementation science

“My work with young people, especially those who are gender and sexuality diverse, has inspired me to promote and advocate for inclusion in health research, education, and healthcare settings. International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to consider how negotiating multiple marginalised identities such as gender, sexuality, Indigeneity, ethnicity, disability, and class shapes health outcomes. 

We can improve health outcomes for all young people with targeted investment, political will, and effective collaboration.”

Ms Tian Du

PhD candidate
Charles Perkins Centre Dr John and Anne Chong Lab for Functional Genomics

“A life is shaped by countless voices and stories. My own has had the privilege of being sculpted by many great women, and it's a pleasure to see the growing diversity of these narratives in science and across society. By listening and adding to this chorus, I hope to encourage others, and to continue reshaping the mould.”

Dr Shila Ghazanfar

ARC DECRA Fellow | School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node collaborator Single cell and spatial biology
Charles Perkins Centre Project Co-Lead Data Hub

“Inclusion is what distinguishes genuine progress from hollow tokenism. As an intersectional feminist, I believe strongly in the need for all marginalised groups to be uplifted, particularly for women of colour and first-generation academics. To me, #InspiringInclusion means actively engaging everyone in creating a research community where every voice is heard and valued, leading to greater innovation, collaboration and wellbeing.”

Ms Susan Luo

Research Fellow | Sydney School of Public Health
Prevention Research Collaboration | Charles Perkins Centre 

“Transitioning from an international PhD student into a research fellow can be challenging. I am extremely fortunate to be part of the PRC research group that embraces a culture of inclusion, innovation and collaboration. It is also my great honour to have a female leader, Prof. Melody Ding, as a role model and mentor to guide me through the journey and get me involved in a variety of events, activities, and initiatives nationally and internationally.”

Dr Karine Manera

NHMRC Emerging Leader Research Fellow | Sydney School of Public Health
Prevention Research Collaboration | Charles Perkins Centre

“Inclusion starts with recognising that all voices and experiences are important. Putting this into practice is the necessary but challenging next step. As academics we must constantly ask ourselves: Whose voices haven’t we heard? Whose faces don’t we see?”

Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley

Research Stream Lead | InsideOut Institute
Charles Perkins Centre Eating disorders Project Node collaboration team

“To inspire inclusion, we need to consciously stop, think, be aware of and challenge our own preconceptions and stigmas. Our different lived experiences – of health and mental health, living and social situations, and access to care and support – all shape how we interact with the world and each other. We all have the capacity for more awareness, kindness and compassion for the person standing next to us, regardless of gender.”  

Ms Reeja (Jia) Nasir

PhD Candidate | The Boden Initiative, Charles Perkins Centre
Co-Chair of the Charles Perkins Centre EMCR Initiative

“Even within marginalised groups, additional inequalities exist, with some women facing multiple forms of exclusion that others do not. I have often felt othered within higher education, not solely due to my gender, but specifically because I am a woman of colour. For me, inclusion is incomplete unless we also amplify the voices of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, actively listening, learning, and embracing the discomfort that may accompany this endeavour.”

Ms Tian Wang

PhD candidate | CPC EMCR Initiative member

“For me, inclusion is the culture that empowers individuals from diverse backgrounds to feel comfortable and confident in sharing their experiences and ideas and working in their own ways. It greatly promotes innovation and engagement and encourages talents to reach their full potential.”

Ms Kyar Wilkey

Research Assistant | InsideOut Institute
Charles Perkins Centre EMCR Initiative memeber

“Inclusion to me is about dismantling systems that still marginalise minority communities. It’s about people doing the work and not just offering tokenistic gestures of inclusion to avoid criticism.”

Dr Kathryn Williams

Conjoint Senior Lecturer | Medicine, Nepean Clinical School
Clinical Lead and Manager for the Nepean Family Metabolic Health Service
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node leader Lifespan obesity
Charles Perkins Centre Project Node collaborator Precision Sleep Medicine

“One of my many life goals is to assist my female peers to recognise what they are capable of by calling out self-deprecating comments and by encouraging self-affirmation.”

Dr Giselle Yeo

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
Charles Perkins Centre Stem cell biotechnology Group Leader

“Inclusion, to me, means being given the same opportunities for success as everyone else. I am very grateful to have had the support of peers and mentors throughout my career and strive to do the same for the next generation of scientists. I hope we all work towards a society that rewards hard work and integrity – no matter who you are, how you look, or where you're from.”

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