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Celebrating International Women's Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of women’s achievements. It is celebrated around the world on 8 March. This year’s global theme is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.

The theme acknowledges the tremendous efforts made by women and girls in shaping a better future.

To celebrate International Women's Day in 2021, City of Parramatta Council is highlighting the contributions of six women with deep connections to Parramatta who are leaders in their personal and professional lives. Their stories are of connection and convictions, of achievements big and small.

The campaign celebrates the diversity of leadership roles women of Parramatta take on every day.

Interviewees for International Women's Day


 

Aunty Julie Jones

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"I'm honoured to continue a tradition of strong matriarchal Dharug women; using my voice to care for my nura/Country and progress the issues and acknowledgement of my people."

I am a Dharug Custodian and Knowledge Holder. This means my personal, professional and community lives all co-exist, like a oneness. They are driven by the causes and issues important to our survival and self-determination

Challenges can be many - lack of opportunity, inequality, tokenism. This is my experience, especially as a fair skinned First Nation woman. But I'm secure in my identity and knowledge, so whilst it gets the better of me sometimes behind closed doors, I have to be strong when I step out of my safety zone to be a solid role model for other women. I don't see myself as a leader – just the wind behind some sails and the breeze that sets some on journeys of their own.

I’d tell my teenage self to go harder earlier. Be a stronger wind behind my Elders. And be kinder to my soul when I feel I failed.

Photo of Julie Jones

Gillian Kayrooz

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"To be a leader is to install hope in someone and support the belief that they can achieve whatever they want in life regardless of where they have come from."

As a teenager, Parramatta was my first taste of independence.  I am currently an artist in residence at the Parramatta Artist Studios and have exhibited internationally in the Asia-Pacific region.

When I reflect on the women in my life, my grandmothers, mother, sister, teachers and friends, they all have shared with me a strength and compassion to grow as individuals whilst supporting the community.

I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was a child and it’s been a constant part of who I am, but it has taken me a long time to completely embrace and acknowledge that as my current career. I have had to combat the myths of working as an artist both to myself and others.

One continuous challenge is encouraging young women to give Visual Arts a chance – not give in to the false and age old belief of ‘you have to be good at drawing or painting to be good at art’. There is no right path so you have to trust your gut!

Photo of Gillian Kayrooz

Sue Hardman

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 “I find that empowering others is one of the most rewarding aspects of leadership. Being a leader is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.”

I am a passionate business owner and single mum to three sons aged 20, 16 and 12 and a daughter aged 14. I care deeply about the planet, am a climate change believer and want to do everything I can in my own footprint of life to tread lightly.

I‘ve been working in communications and marketing my entire 30+ year career. I’ve had the great opportunity to work overseas and look after global markets in a career that I love as much today as the day I sat down in my first lecture at university.

I’d tell my younger self not to be afraid of no’s – every no gets you closer to yes. Don’t hold back and let others take up the space where you belong. Cherish your female friendships and network. They are a special force far greater than you might imagine. Women have certain superpowers and qualities that make us awesome as leaders.

Photo of Sue Hardman

Maeve Brown

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“For me leadership is about focusing on the needs of others before your own and focusing on upending traditional power dynamics.”

I am passionate about human rights and equality. I’m also a wife, a mother of two amazing little humans, and a proud supporter of and participant in women’s football/soccer.

For the last 7 years, I’ve been in a leadership role at Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, which accompanies, supports and advocates for the rights of people seeking asylum and other migrants in vulnerable situations.

For me, being a woman of colour in a leadership position, leadership is all about breaking down structural barriers, ensuring everyone’s voices are heard, and working together to grow and achieve things together for the greater good.

I’d tell my younger self to be confident that you know who you are, to know your purpose and where you’re going. But along the way, be as kind to yourself as you are to others, never stop learning, and use your strengths to help lift up others.

Photo of Maeve Brown

Christine Lam

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"I take control of my needs. I always go for what I believe and what I need.”

My favourite activity with friends is fine dining (I like good food) and karaoke because I love music and singing. I used to be a part of Dance Group and we even made it to the Special Olympics. I like to travel - I have been to China, Japan, Thailand, England, Germany, Italy and Sri Lanka.

I also work 4 days a week and I like my job. It takes two buses to reach my work and I travel by myself.

I make most decisions on my day-to-day activities independently. I believe in my abilities. I ask for help and remind people when I need support. I have the challenge of making the right decisions in my life, but I do not give up. I ask people I trust to help me achieve what I am planning. My advice would be: don’t give up!

Photo of Christine Lam

Aunty Corina Wayali Norman

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“Leading is about forging together. Strength comes from knowing what I can and cannot do. The courage to ask for help. Listening attentively and being brave to speak out.”

I’m a Dharug/Dharawal woman. I also whakapapa back to Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi te iwi. I live for my family (mudyin) and community (yura). I am part of a group of Dharug women who have been leading the way in building and strengthening relationships within the wider community.

I work as a cultural artist through various mediums. My interest is in respectful memorialisation and dedication to Dharug and broader First Peoples culture. I seek opportunities for our voices to be heard and respected - truth telling and sharing all things pertaining to our culture, connections and responsibilities to Nura (Country) and each other.

To walk with good spirit, “Yanama budyari Gumadawi” - with humility, patience and respect - is what my family and community follow, despite the challenges we face as First Nations people living on our Country.

Photo of Corina Wayali Norman

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