International Women’s Day

Ms THOMAS (Macedon) — On Thursday I attended Hepburn Shire Council’s International Women’s Day Heather Mutimer Women’s’ Honour Roll celebration in Daylesford. The honour roll pays tribute to women in the shire whose contributions, courage and examples have led to significant social change for women. Now in its 12th year, the honour roll goes some way to correcting the historical record and ensures women’s stories are told and highlighted for future generations. Congratulations to Heather Mutimer, who as a councillor had the foresight, love of history and passion for women’s equity to establish the roll in 2005. This year posthumous awards were made to Gale Orford for her services to golf, and to Julie Ingleby, who, radicalised by the Vietnam war, went on to be a lifelong champion of workers’ rights.

Our local history is too often neglectful of women’s contributions. While men have been recognised with statues, parks and street names, women’s contributions to civic life have for too long gone unnoticed. Today I call on councils across Victoria to follow in the footsteps of Hepburn, and indeed of the Victorian government, and consider the ways in which the contribution of women to the life of our communities can be better recognised.

What always make the Hepburn event so special is hearing from the young women of Daylesford Secondary College, and this year was no exception. Congratulations to Ngahuia Thompson, Annie Williams, Beth Olver and Dywana Gentric-Hilton for their presentation and to Bella Thomas for her speech. I would like to conclude by sharing some of Bella’s speech entitled ‘I’m not like other girls’ — a reflection on internalised misogyny:

Girls can sail around the Southern Hemisphere by themselves … Women can fight and win the right to vote. Women can write a book about an 11-year-old wizard and become a billionaire. Girls can sing like Ella Fitzgerald, help people like Fiona Wood … paint like Frida Kahlo, dance like Beyonce …

Girls are creative, powerful, beautiful, intelligent and complex