Reception for Organisations that Support Women
Good evening, and a very warm welcome to Government House. Tonight, we have representatives from a broad range of organisations that do so much to support women in this State – most of which, I am proud Patron. We have represented in the room tonight, the Lady Bowen Trust, Queensland Country Women’s Association, Anglican Mother’s Union, Australian War Widows Queensland Branch, National Council of Women of Queensland, Challenge DV, Suited to Success, The Lady Musgrave Trust, Red Rose Foundation, True Relationships and Reproductive Health, Share the Dignity and Thread Together. Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you all to Fernberg on this special occasion.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
I’m pleased to be able to bring you all together this evening at Government House to enjoy each other’s company and discuss a topic of vital interest to all of us: the importance of supporting women.
There are many individuals in this room who are to be congratulated for their singular efforts to promote the interests of women and ensure their needs are met.
However, often it’s when we work together that we bring about the lasting positive change that eludes women in so many areas of life.
Of course, I am more aware than many of the collective efforts of your organisations to support women in such diverse areas as emergency relief, homelessness, domestic and family violence, at-risk children and fostering social connections, as well as in providing practical support that ranges from financial aid to educational bursaries.
However, a glance at the most recent statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals the extent of the challenges facing women, and the urgency of the need to continue supporting them.
- One in seven women, or 14% of our female population, is living in poverty.
- The average weekly wage is 16% less for women than for men.
- Shockingly, some 54,000 women in Australia are homeless, and far more have presented to specialist services as being at risk of homelessness.
- And almost half of the female population have reported experiencing a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
So, what do we do with this data, how do we choose how to try and make a meaningful difference in so many women’s lives?
Well, the first and perhaps most obvious answer is that we recognise the needs are great, we gather our collective strength and knowhow, and we make a start.
I’d like to think that gathering here, to discuss women’s wellbeing with people from organisations similarly dedicated to achieving it, is a small albeit significant step.
Please enjoy the wonderful Government House hospitality while you renew acquaintances and make new connections.
I hope you can return to your respective organisations, and the aspects of women’s lives they were formed to support, with renewed confidence and energy.
And I will continue to support you in your endeavours in whatever way I can.