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International Women's Day

Mr WINGARD (Mitchell) (15:25): I rise today to speak about International Women's Day and some of the amazing women in my community and my life. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also makes a call to action for accelerating gender parity. 

I am lucky and privileged to have many strong influential women in my life, starting with my mother, who has had the biggest influence on me. She is a woman who worked hard to raise her family, grow a business to support her family and also give back to the community through numerous charity groups, from establishing a Meals on Wheels in the Quorn region (when we lived in the country) to her work in the disability, aged care and Indigenous sectors as well.

My wife and two daughters have a similar strength. They all show wonderful leadership and compassion and give very generously to our community through coaching, school leadership and regular blood donation. I have other family members who display the same attributes, as do the three female members of my working team: Emma Andrew, Allison Mildren and Jasmine Pollock.

 In my community there are a number of groups that display these similar qualities, and I would like to mention the Marion VIEW Club, which supports the voice, interests and education of women. The current president is Shirley Jenner, vice president is Vera Cornell and the secretary is Jill Cunningham. Last Friday, the Marion VIEW Club held a community fundraiser at the Marion Hotel. Eleven VIEW clubs attended from around the state, as well as ladies from bowling clubs, Red Hatters and book clubs. In all, 175 guests joined together to raise funds and enjoy lunch. Next Friday, the Marion VIEW Club will celebrate its 14th birthday. They do some marvellous work, raising funds for The Smith Family charity, helping those less fortunate receive an education. I have been along to their functions on a number of occasions and they are incredibly welcoming and do wonderful work in the community.

I am also very proud to work with a number of female school principals in my electorate: Kathryn Entwhistle, the Principal of Darlington Primary School, is on leave at higher duties at the moment. The acting Principal there is Jo Miller, and she is doing an outstanding job. Jenny Englehardt is the Principal at Sheidow Park Primary School. Jo Meredith is the acting Principle at Reynella South Primary School, again doing an outstanding job as she fills in for the regular principal, Barb Hall, who has also been elevated to a new posting. Penny Tranter is the Principal at Seaview High School.

I was pleased to see seven female year 11 and 12 Seaview High School students participate in the 'Hydro-powering a better future' challenge at Flinders University Tonsley campus on Thursday 3 March as part of the STEM program, which encourages children to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. At present, only 34 per cent of graduates in science, technology, maths and engineering are women, and it is wonderful to see Seaview High School, led by their principal, doing everything they can to grow those numbers.

The Reynella Neighbourhood Centre is another group that is actively involved in the Days for Girls project, which creates a more dignified, free and educated world through access to feminine hygiene solutions. Recently, the neighbourhood centre held a sewing bee project where 340 liners were sewn and 60 kits were packaged and are now ready to be sent to Timor Leste very soon. Four days for girls' events have been run through the Reynella Neighbourhood Centre this year, with volunteers helping to make liners and bags for girls in Cambodia, Congo, Nepal and Timor Leste.

Thank you to all the people who took part. They are just some of the great women in my community. Unfortunately, I don't have time to mention more on this occasion, but I look forward to working with more of them into the future.

We have some brilliant women in our community, and on this day it is important to recognise their achievements, but it is also important to address the gender equity issue. There are three accelerators that can either work independently or together to change the trajectory of women's advancement. They are:

  1. illuminate the path to leadership by making career opportunities more visible to women;

      2. speed up culture change with progressive corporate policy, such as paternity leave and flexible working; and

      3. build supportive environments and work to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias.

These are areas that I am very passionate about, as I said. More specifically, having young daughters myself, I see it as something we need to work towards and, as a community, I think this is a great direction to take.

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