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WARRNAMBOOL leaders say it would be easy to forget what women have fought for.
As the community acknowledges International Women’s Day, The Standard spoke to women in various roles about the challenges they faced.
The day is about celebrating the achievements of women from former Warrnambool mayor Glenys Phillpot to Warrnambool Art Gallery director Vanessa Gerrans to new apprentice Briannah Parker.
Mrs Phillpot said it was an opportunity to recognise how far women had come and what more needed to be done. “I would love to see greater female representation on our council,” she said. “In 1996 there were two women on council and there are two women now.”
Brauer College principal Jane Boyle said as a community we needed to continue to promote women in leadership. “It would be very easy to forget what women fought for,” she said.
“The history of women and taking up leadership is important and causes a ripple effect for our young women and you think of people like (Peter’s Project founder) Vicki Jellie. The confidence that she gives people without perhaps being seen as a leader by power... but by the ability to do something to make a difference.”
South West Healthcare palliative care director Emma Greenwood said the day was a chance to celebrate women around the world and also identify areas of inequality, whether that be locally, nationally or internationally.
One of the greatest issues facing women was family violence, with at least one incident reported to Warrnambool police daily from October 2016 to September 2017.
Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West chief Emily Lee-Ack said communities that had higher rates of gender inequality had higher rates of violence against women.
“In Australia the latest data shows that the numbers aren’t shifting, we’re still seeing around one woman a week killed by a current or former partner,” she said. “If this was a public expression of violence we would have fixed it by now.”
Warrnambool police Inspector Gary Coombes said it saddened him that family violence continued to be such a prevalent issue.
“There needs to be long-term change in cultural attitudes,” he said. “I know we can get there and I know we will.”