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Why is International Women's Day important for all people?

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global celebration of women and their achievements socially, economically, culturally and politically. But it hasn't always been this way.

In this article we look at:

  • The history of IWD

  • Some great women

  • Some great women with disability

  • Turning it around for women in leadership

  • Melba supports IWD

Melba is a registered NDIS provider Melbourne and fully supports IWD. After reading through this short article, you may be motivated even more to stand up for women's rights and help turn the situation around for women.

In case you didn't know, IWD has been around for some time. Over a century ago, people began saying 'no' to the oppression and inequality of women. Campaigns for change began emerging and in 1908, approximately 15,000 women marched through New York City. They petitioned for voting rights, better pay, and shorter hours.

In 1909 America declared February 28 to be National Women's Day.

In 1910, the leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara Zetkin, proposed the idea of an 'International' day for women.

In 1911, IWD was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March the 19th.

It continued to develop to what it is today: a global day of celebration and support for the equality of women globally and to be celebrated on March 8 annually.

Some great women

If we were to mention all the great women from history, we'd never be able to finish this article. In Australia, there have been countless great women, and here are just a few:

  1. Edith Cowan (1861-1932) can be seen on the Australian $50 note. She was the first woman to be elected to parliament in Australia. Cowan campaigned for women’s rights throughout her career, and was eventually awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to society.

  2. Wilhelmina (Mina) Wylie (1891-1984) and Sarah (Fanny) Durack (1889-1956) were swimmers and when they began competing, women were banned from any competitions where males were competing. Wylie and Durack's skills and talents became so profound that the public kicked back against these regulations. As a result, the two women entered the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm and went on to win many titles and break many world records.

  3. Evelyn Scott (1935-2017) championed indigenous rights throughout her life. Scott was an active participant in the first national women’s organisation, the National Aboriginal and Islander Council. It was formed in the early 1970s to empower women. Among other victories, Scott's efforts resulted in the inclusion of indigenous people in the national census.

Great women with disability

There are countless women with disabilities who have gone on to achieve extraordinary things. Here are just a few:

  1. Anne Hegerty has Asperger’s Syndrome. If you watch the Chase you will know who we're talking about. Hegerty is a highly successful television personality and professional quizzer, known as The Governess in the award-winning ITV quiz show The Chase.

  2. Joni Eareckson Tada has been paralyzed since she was 17 and has no movement from her shoulders down, including the use of her hands. She is also a successful disability rights activist, a painter, author of several books including a #1 international bestseller, 'Joni', along with forming and leading a profound caring ministry to people with disability.

  3. Hannah Cockroft MBE has cerebral palsy with balance, mobility and fine motor impairment. She is also a gold medal-winning Paralympic wheelchair racer and 10 times world champion.

  4. Cerrie Burnell was born with no right forearm and is severely dyslexic. She's also an accomplished actress, singer, playwright, children’s author and TV presenter.

It's important to remember, a woman with disability doesn't have to be on TV or break a world record to be amazing. Just living and working through each day makes women with disability, fabulous people.

At the Melba Supported Independent Living (SIL) home where she lives, Amanda loves doing things around the home. In the picture, Amanda can be seen doing one of the things she loves the most: cooking.

Amanda often makes cupcakes, cookies, and other delicious treats for those at the home, with the assistance of Melba Support workers.

Turning it around for women

What about women in leadership roles? In a podcast about IWD and the need for more women in leadership, Melba CEO Hayley Dean shared about turning it around for all women.

Dean says that the journey turning things around for women in leadership... "starts from infancy. Until we can actually distinguish and separate how we unconsciously work, talk, play, from a gender perspective, only then will we start to really see equality."

"I think the other factor is we need to stop looking at it as a woman's issue and look at it as a male issue, and the ability of men to actually understand and accept the fabulous leadership qualities women bring to the table."

Melba Supports IWD

Melba is a registered NDIS provider Melbourne wide and across Victoria. Our values are Human Rights, Passion, Creativity, Flexibility, Fun. This includes gender equality in the disabilities services sector. We support and encourage all people.

One of the ways we do this is through our ARROW group. Staff teach each member how to self-advocate, and advocate for other people with disability within the greater community.

Here's a snapshot of the supports and services Melba offers:

  • Helping you access the NDIS

  • Core supports

  • Support coordination

  • Respite for children and adults

  • Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

  • Supported Independent Living (SIL)

  • Individualised Support Arrangements (ISA)

Along with these disability support services, Melba offers exciting programs including:

  • Arthur Creative Studio in Ballarat for supported people to do various arts programs

  • Melba's own Able Bakehouse with our own all abilities registered kitchen, where people with disability can do programs that teach cooking

  • Harvest Collective program, joining in with school children to grow vegetables for a local school canteen

  • Community Connections programs across Victoria to assist the person to achieve goals

  • Supported holidays where a Melba support worker assists the person with disability on their holiday

  • and more

With all of these supports, services, fun activities and programs, Melba supports people with disability to live a fabulous life.

Watch a short fun video of two people supported by Melba enjoying a day out at the Bruthen Blues Festival. It's all about having fun.

For more information and to discuss your NDIS plan and goals, contact Melba today


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