Mayor’s Column – 1 September 2010
Two weeks ago, I attended the opening of the Lake Macquarie Women’s Forum 2010 at Toronto. It was an inaugural event, organised by the Quigley Co-operative Women’s Initiative and was opened by the NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir. The event sought to empower women in their personal lives and to inform on a wide range of health, and other women’s issues.
More than 400 people from all walks of life attended this free event that aimed to assist local women achieve their career aspirations and creative pursuits through providing inspiration and support. The Women’s Initiative works to create supportive friendships between women of all ages and cultures providing weekly workshops where women share and learn new skills with on site childcare provided.
I had been invited along mainly due to the attendance of the Governor and on entering the event, apart from noting that there weren’t many men, I was struck by the number of people I knew. They were all women who I have come to know over the years through their community work. To see them together at this forum drove home to me just how much work, largely voluntary, is being done by women throughout our community.
The event had a powerful line-up of women speakers including health advocate, Dr Sally ‘Feelgood’ Cockburn, and Shivani Gupta speaking on personal leadership. Another highlight was local resident Francine Bell. Francine originally came from New York and is a very talented entertainer, tutor, and motivational speaker who added to an inspiring opening of the event.
This event was funded by the Department of Community Services, but couldn’t have happened without a huge effort of local organisers. It is always difficult to single out individuals for their efforts with events such as this, but it is appropriate to acknowledge the vision and effort of Coral Allen from the Quigley Co-operative based at Bolton Point. Coral and her helpers did a fantastic job of bringing this important initiative to our community. Hopefully more funding can be found next year to see this great forum held again.