International Women’s Day Breakfast 2024

We express our heartfelt gratitude to the 200 people that came along to Women's Health Loddon Mallee's International Women's Day breakfast on March 8th to share a meal, connect with one another, and have meaningful conversations around how we can accelerate progress by investing in women.

Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to the 200 or so people that came along to Women’s Health Loddon Mallee’s International Women’s Day breakfast on March 8th to share a meal, connect with one another, and have meaningful conversations around how we can accelerate progress by investing in women.

Tricia Currie, CEO of Women’s Health Loddon Mallee, acknowledged Country and set the scene for the conversation. This year’s International Women’s Day theme, Count Her In, provided an opportunity to bring the wider Bendigo community together to discuss ways we can collectively accelerate progress toward gender equality. By tackling the gaps in our economies that can disadvantage women, valuing the contributions that women make to our economies, and actively supporting and growing women’s economic empowerment and independence we can nurture and grow gender equality in our region and beyond.

As we reimagine and reshape our economies to count her in, we also keep in mind that this means counting in all women, and recognising that gender inequality impacts women differently. Some women, due to intersecting factors, experience hardships, including poverty, homelessness, and gendered violence at disproportionately higher rates than others. To progress gender equality, we need to ensure no one is left behind. We need to listen to women’s perspectives and include the expertise of women from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities, sexualities, and identities in reshaping our economies.

Guest speaker Luz Restrepo discussed some of the barriers and enablers for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds when it comes to economic inclusion and progressing economic empowerment, weaving in and sharing parts of her own personal journey. Luz arrived in Australia seeking political asylum in 2010. With little English, no connections, and little money, she reinvented herself as a leader and entrepreneur, with a clear direction around supporting women from migrant and refugee backgrounds to be able to find the economy.

In 2013 Luz established SisterWorks, a charity supporting thousands of migrant women. Luz went on to co-found Migrant Women in Business (MWiB) in 2022, which now has 230 women members spanning 53 different nationalities. Late last year Luz also established Made by Many Minds Pty Ltd to support micro-business development in general, including for migrants and regional micro-business owners.

Our second guest speaker, Megan Champion, shared with attendees what drove her to establish her rapidly emerging organisation We Are Untold, and the Women of Gold project, which works to address the underrepresentation of women in the arts and the resulting barriers, invisibility, silence, and impact this has on society. A dynamic creative, Megan has curated stories of local women to produce the Women of Gold short film and public art exhibition at Pennyweight Walk Outdoor Gallery in Bendigo. Featuring six local artists, Women of Gold brings the untold stories of women, out of the shadows and into the light. These diverse stories illuminate the richness and complexity of women’s perspectives. We recommend checking it out ASAP!

While another IWD may be over, the work to accelerate progress doesn’t end there. We recommend checking out our IWD 2024 Toolkit and referring to it throughout the year. It is packed full of information around the theme, local and nation-wide facts and stats, campaign ideas, recommended books, films and lots more.