An equal future

Words by Michelle Wright

Back row: Ava Geary, Ruby Todd, Kiara You Front row: Poppy Hewett, Angharad Neal-Williams, Ellen Gould

What an inspirational night it was for everyone who attended Nillumbik Council’s International Women’s Day event on Thursday 9 March.

The theme for this year’s United Nations International Women’s Day was ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future’. The event sought to shine a spotlight on how bold, transformative ideas, inclusive technologies, and accessible education can play an important role in combatting discrimination and the marginalisation of women globally. 

We were all welcomed to Eltham’s iconic mudbrick Community and Reception Centre with a glass of bubbles, delicious canapes and the beautiful cello music of local Eltham musician, Chiara Kelle. The evening’s proceedings began with a Welcome Dance and Acknowledgement of Country by Djirri Djirri Women’s Dance Group. Then, we were introduced to the amazing young women who were the recipients of the inaugural Young Women in Leadership Awards. Hearing them speak about their varied and impressive achievements and drive was an inspiration.

Here are the awards and the names of the recipients (see Featured Image):

Front row from left:

  • Young Business Leader – Poppy Hewett 
  • Young Creative Leader – Angharad Neal-Williams   
  • Young Woman of the Year – Ellen Gould 

Back row from left:

  • Young Sport Leader – Ava Geary 
  • Young Gender Equity Leader – Ruby Todd 
  • Young Climate Action Leader – Kiara You 

It’s not easy to sum up what they received the awards for in just a few words. 

For further information:

Next, a delectable dinner was served. Generous communal bowls of mouth-watering vegetarian dishes were provided by the Moroccan Soup Bar and passed around the tables for second and third helpings! 

Local author Michelle Wright moderated a conversation with keynote speaker, owner of Moroccan Soup Bar Hana Assafiri AOM and special guest spoken word artist Zaynab Farah. Panel (L-R) Zaynab, Hana, Michelle

We then heard from the keynote speaker, Hana Assafiri, restaurateur and owner of the Moroccan Soup Bar. As always, Hana spoke from the heart and with passion about the need for all of us to speak out against injustice, to be active in our fight for equality for all, and to lead our lives with love and compassion.

Hana then introduced her friend, Zaynab Farah, a Somali-Australian spoken word artist who delivered a moving and passionate spoken-word performance, notably honouring her mother. 

I then had the pleasure of moderating a panel session with Hana and Zaynab in which they responded to questions from the audience. 

To round the evening off, we had some fun and games expertly organised by comedy duo Coral and Rosay, who then led the whole audience in an enthusiastic singalong of “I am Woman.”

We all left the evening on a high – inspired by the passion and goodwill of so many fabulous women. Thank you to Nillumbik Shire Council for putting on another incredibly successful event.