International Women’s Day Garden Reception
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, the Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP; the 22nd Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Leneen Forde AC; Shadow Minister for Finance and Better Regulation, Shadow Minister for Integrity in Government, Ms Fiona Simpson MP; Members of Parliament; representing Commander, HMAS Moreton, Lieutenant Commander Amy Brauns RAN; representing Commander, Combat Support Group RAAF Amberley, Group Captain Amanda Cornell; Queensland Police Service Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today. I extend this recognition by paying special tribute to Indigenous women, who—across time—have devoted themselves to serving their families and their communities with immense bravery and wisdom.
I’d like to also acknowledge the wonderful string quartet entertaining us this evening – four lovely young ladies from St Aidan’s Anglican Girl School – Natalia, Megan, Juliet and Yolanda – and their teacher Mrs Hansen. Thank you, girls, for sharing your talents with us.
Graeme and I welcome you all to Government House this evening, as we come together, on the eve of International Women’s Day 2023, to celebrate the achievements of the incredible women who make our State thrive.
I am truly honoured to be with such an inspiring group of Queenslanders.
Each of you highlights what can be achieved, not just through industrious focus and perseverance, but significantly, through an unstoppable desire to follow your dreams, regardless of setbacks, and despite obstacles.
We have certainly travelled so far since those early days of the IWD movement, when, in the 1920s, it was noted that: “no new order of society can arrive until women—at least half the human race—play a bigger and wider part than they have been accustomed to do”.
I think all of you are proof that over the past 100 years, we have made significant inroads into every area of our society …although I must add that the “exhibition of juggling” given at Brisbane’s first IWD celebration in 1929, is an oddly prescient symbol of what is required of us today, as we negotiate our ever-complex, demanding world!
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day—“Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future”—is a two-edged sword.
It highlights that big ideas, underpinned by advances in technology, and access to education, have the power to help break down gender inequality.
Yet, at the same time, it signals that as we continue to innovate, we risk leaving behind those women who do not have access to the fundamentals needed to keep up with the speed of change, nor who can be in a position to take advantage of the possibilities this evolution may bring.
Consequently, we all have a responsibility—as did those before us—to reach out to girls and women in our lives who, through their circumstances, do not enjoy the same privileges as each of us, but who may be Queensland’s next Professor Dorothy Hill (renowned paleontologist and geologist) or Dr Evelyn Scott (educator and activist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights).
Who knows what might be possible—what critical contributions could be made—if all women had the same opportunities, support and practical benefits needed, to further their abilities and pursue their goals?
It is so important that we stand shoulder to shoulder, and I am therefore really delighted to see so many of you mentoring others—as friends and colleagues—guiding other women while they traverse this sometimes-rocky terrain.
Your absolute willingness to share your knowledge and insight has been a quality evident at the various other IWD events I have attended this year, and it makes me so proud to be a Queensland woman, because I know this same generosity is also being demonstrated right across our State.
Thank you and enjoy the hospitality of Government House.