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International Women's Day 2018

On Thursday, 8 March the world celebrated International Women’s Day in various ways. Two IHD residents hosted an evening of inspiration and interaction, including a gallery of past and present influential women from around the world.

With help from fellow residents, Stephanie and Nabia’s ambition was to celebrate the various contribution to society made by women and encourage self-development and education for women and young girls.

“We want people to understand that ourselves, as women, can also be strong and help those who are struggling with themselves,” said Stephanie. “This event means a lot to me to be able to help other women.”

Determined to provide inspiration and motivation to all residents, they set out to find the right guest speakers. Both Director of CDU’s Northern Institute Professor Ruth Wallace and CDU student Jane Alia humbly accepted their invitation to speak.

Professor Ruth Wallace is CDU’s Dean of the College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society, and Director of the Northern Institute. Ruth leads the Regional, Economic & Workforce Development theme which focuses on collaborative approaches to workforce development and engagement with community, governments and industry that are sustainable and scalable. Ruth is the social science technical advisor for the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, with a focus on building resilience through community engagement and collaborative knowledge and management systems for biosecurity surveillance. In February 2016, Ruth became the first female Australian researcher to be awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences (sponsored by Kansas State University).

Jane was born in a refugee camp in Uganda to parents from South Sudan. When Jane arrived in Australia as a teenager, she heartily embraced every opportunity to get involved in a local community. She is a passionate ambassador for youth, women and a great representative for people from multicultural backgrounds. Jane is now a fully qualified dental assistant and studying a Bachelor of Nursing at CDU.

Both Ruth and Jane referenced their upbringing, limited access to education and the women (and men) in their lives who inspired and pushed them to be their best.

“It’s a day to celebrate women, but we should also celebrate the men in the room,” said Jane. “Thank you for taking a step in supporting women.”

Stephanie and Nabiha have labelled Ruth and Jane’s speeches as highlights of the evening.

“The way they told us their own stories was really touching because it’s their true experience,” said Stephanie. “Learning from others’ experiences is the best way to motivate people.”

Following the guest speakers, attendees mingled and strolled through the gallery while dining on Saffrron’s delicious Indian cuisine.

“I’d like to thank Muriel and Qi for helping us brainstorm ideas and helping to prepare, run and pack-down the event,” said Stephanie. “Nabiha organised this event with me, so I appreciate that both of us worked well together. Last but not least, thanks to all the residents who came.”