Bethlehem Catholic College AshfieldOn Monday, March 9 Bethlehem College welcomed large numbers of mothers, grandmothers and special women in the lives of our students to our young women to join a number of special guests, staff and students to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The celebrations began with a beautiful morning tea on the Bethlehem Spine for our mothers, grandmothers, their daughters/ granddaughters and our invited guests. The breakfast was catered for by our Year 11 Hospitality students and their teachers, Mrs Thorburn, Mrs McAuley and Mrs Hagios The many members of our community enjoyed the beautiful homemade treats and the opportunity to spend time with the special women in their lives. 

At the conclusion of the breakfast, we all moved into the hall for the assembly coordinated by the Year 12 leaders Jessica Clemente and Barbara Farhat. Following a very powerful Acknowledgement of Country by Taryn Little and a beautiful prayer, I commenced the assembly with a short presentation on the history , purpose and theme of International Women’s day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated with women from around the globe. It is an event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while at the same time calling for further action on gender inequality.

Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action. The United Nations urges us to reflect on the progress that has been made, to continue to call for change and innovation that improves the lives of girls and women around the globe, and “to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities”. 

Each year, there is a different theme for International Women’s Day and this year the theme is #EachforEqual. So what does that mean? 

  • An equal world is an enabled world, giving everyone equal opportunity. 
  • Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
  • We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.Bethlehem Catholic College Ashfield
  • But collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

I reminded the girls that “in our all girls environment they are empowered to believe that girls can do anything… don’t let anyone tell you anything different. It doesn’t matter what cultural background you come from, what work your parents do, how much they earn, where you live or whether you have the latest designer label clothes or phone. You have the power, the opportunities and the support networks to achieve outstanding academic results, study any course at university or take on any vocational pathway. You have a voice, you can run and play and participate on equal footing with the boys.”

The latter part of my presentation included the unveiling of a special Aboriginal art work entitled “Women Dreaming”. I purchased the work a few years ago when I was visiting Central Australia. I visited the Mulgara Gallery at Ayers Rock. I looked at a huge amount of Aboriginal artwork in the hope of purchasing an authentic and inspirational Aboriginal artwork for the College to hang in the Learning Resource Centre once it was completed. I was impressed by the works of Artist in Residence Julianne Nungarrayi Turner and chose “Women Dreaming” for its significance to the role of women in Aboriginal dreamtime stories. 

Following my presentation, the community were then blessed to hear from four amazing speakers and an outstanding Drama performance “I’m with her” by our talented drama teachers Miss Lindon and Ms. Caparrotta who explored the theme of #eachforequal in very engaging and diverse ways.

Mr Timillero then led the school in a fantastic photo opportunity which went live on Facebook and Twitter. 

I would like to thank the following speakers for their presence on the day and for their inspiring, challenging and emotional addresses. 

Bethlehem Catholic College Ashfield

  • Dr Melissa Phillips (Ex- student from the HSC Class of 1991) Lecturer – Western Sydney University & Board Member, Australian Red Cross
  • Ms. Angelina Canturi, mother of Francesca Risi in Year 8
  • Miss Lindon and Ms. Caparrotta 
  • Jessica Clemente and Barbara Farhat

 What an amazing morning it was!!