BCE's inaugural International Women's Day breakfast guest speakers (from left) Professor Maree Smith, Hanna Hoswell, AnneMarie White, Angela Lynch with BCE Executive Director Pam Betts
“TRY to find The Real You!"
That was the advice author and sports journalist AnneMarie White had for the inspirational women who attended Brisbane Catholic Education's inaugural International Women's Day (IWD) breakfast.
Diversity and inclusion were on the menu for the day, which is celebrated in many countries around the world on March 8, and acts as a reminder of the need to continue to push, advocate for, and promote gender equality.
On the day women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
This year's theme “Balance for Better", supported gender representation across all fields and professions and focused on the need for more men to get involved in the fight for gender equality.
Hosted by BCE's Organisational Development team, the morning consisted of a panel discussion with guest speakers Angela Lynch, CEO of the Women's Legal Service Queensland; Ernst &Young partner Jenny Parker; UQ Emeritus Professor Maree Smith, Director of the Centre for Integrated Pre-clinical Drug Development; and Advanced Care Paramedic and health consultant Hanna Hoswell, a recent graduate from Mt Maria, College Mitchelton.
Keynote speaker, AnneMarie, talked about her life as a female sports journalist in a male dominated world and her struggles to get better media coverage for women in sport.
Her innovative and enthusiastic approach to achieving this earned her many professional accolades, including a Prime Ministerial Award for 'Outstanding Media Coverage' for her contribution to women in sport.
She described herself as “a very ordinary woman" who was blessed to have had some extraordinary experiences.
She encouraged the audience of mainly women and some male supporters from BCE schools and offices to try to be positive role models for young women and help someone else find their voice.
“It's not always about winning," she said.
“It's about not giving up, keeping on trying.
“I think of 'trying' as finding 'the real you', the best you."
She challenged the women in the audience to be brave and determined and ask themselves 'what is my dream; who can I ask to help me and who can I go and help achieve their dream.
“That's where you can make a difference," she said.
BCE Executive Director Pam Betts thanked the many women who contributed to the story of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane in ways both large and small.
Miss Betts said the message from the guest speakers was clear: “we all are called to contribute to making our communities and our world a more equitable, inclusive and safe place, especially for the vulnerable.
She quoted Michelle Obama: “our hope is that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves then we can be whatever we dream regardless of the limitations that others may place on us".
“Hope is the gift that has inspired so many to achieve great things in and beyond our communities," she said.
Miss Betts said BCE was committed to improving the number of women in leadership positions across BCE.
She said the goal was for women and men to be equally represented in the leadership of BCE office and school leadership teams.
She said there were a number of projects underway to help achieve this initiative.
All money raised from the IWD breakfast was donated to the Women's Legal Service Queensland who provide free legal and social work help to women and their children who experience domestic violence.
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