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Celebrating International Women’s Day

The City of Ballarat celebrated International Women’s Day 2019, on Friday, with this year’s theme #balanceforbetter – relating to better gender balance creating a better world.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements, as well as marking a call to action for improving gender equity.

The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911 and was supported by more than a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

The City of Ballarat adopted its Gender Equity Action Plan 2018-2020 last year.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said International Women’s Day recognised the achievements of women worldwide and also symbolised the fight for women to work and live on an equal footing.

“Everyone has a part to play in building a gender-balanced world,” Cr McIntosh said.

“This International Women’s Day let’s celebrate all of the achievements of the women we know, while helping lead the push for a better gender balance to create a better world.”

There were a number of speakers, each with a relevant message of optimism for the future.

City of Ballarat Innovation and Organisational Improvement Director Cameron Gray stood out as the only male speaker and gave a different perspective.

“Today I am a reluctant speaker because we hear from enough men,” he said.

“We hear from men who fill our boardrooms, our cabinets, our benches,  our executive suites, our newspapers and our airwaves.  We hear from enough men talking about women but I reluctantly accepted this opportunity because this is such an important topic to discuss, if not the most important topic facing our community in 2019.”

Mr Gray said that for communities like ours to thrive we needed gender balance and gender equality.

“Today is about celebrating but also reminds us the considerable way we still have to go to achieve this.  This is something for women and men to strive for.

“Gender equality will be achieved when no one remarks on the masculinity or femininity  of our politicians or our leaders.  Gender equality will be achieved when we longer ask can a woman do that or can a man do that?”