"Women are the fabric that hold our community together."
Women who attended International Women's Day in Griffith applauded the words of Griffith woman and human rights lawyer Lucy Geddes as she spoke of her awe-inspiring achievements and passion for women and the law.
Ms Geddes' stirring and empowering speech was one of many highlights at a picnic hosted by Griffith's Women on Fire group Monday, attended by more than sixty women at Pioneer Park museum.
Guests participated in drumming activities, were treated to a full cosmopolitan lunch, were read poetry by Griffith poet Mary Catanzariti and were wowed by 'Rhythm', Griffith's Indian-Sri Lankan dance troupe.
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However, 33 year old Ms Geddes sharing her personal journey from Griffith High School graduate to international human rights lawyer floored the audience with her determination, dedication and timely message to keep moving forward.
"International Women's Day is a reminder to celebrate our potential as women as change makers and as leaders in our community," Ms Geddes said.
"This is about developing a culture where big dreams are encouraged. Where girls and women of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to dream big and be bold and to pursue whatever path they choose.
"Women are the fabric that hold our community together. And everyday in Griffith there are women who are making a difference quietly to those around them."
While Ms Geddes celebrated the achievements of women she reminded everyone that there is still much more to be done if women are truly to be treated equally in Australian society, highlighting national events of the past two weeks as sad reminders of this.
"There is an uncomfortable truth that Australia has a serious problem with violence against women," she said.
"We live in a country where one woman dies a week from family violence and almost ten women are hospitalised from injuries relating to assault as a result of family violence every day.
"It's important to know that high rates of violence against women in Australia do not occur in a vacuum. The route cause of this violence is gender inequality and discrimination.
"In too many places in our country women are not treated equally compared to men and it is even worse for women who experience inter-sectional forms of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, class, disability or sexuality."
Ms Geddes challenged guests to start those seemingly uncomfortable conversations at home, at work and in schools about 'fairness, dignity, respect and the importance of diversity' to begin to combat gender inequality from the community level up.
"This year's International Women's Day theme is Choose to Challenge and I would like to ask you all to have a think about the ways in your own daily lives where you would be able to start one of these conversations," Ms Geddes urged.
"You never know where you might be able to change someone's perspective."
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