Share the Dignity’s DigniTEA
Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement, the Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe, MP; Lady Mayoress, Mrs Nina Schrinner; Chair, Mr Simon Tolhurst, Deputy Chair Ms Jennifer Witheriff and Board Members; Director, Mr Shayne Gilbert; supporters of Share the Dignity; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
As the very first Governor of Queensland to accept the role of vice-regal patron of Share the Dignity, I am delighted to be with you for this afternoon’s celebration.
In my former career as a doctor and Chief Medical Officer, and my life as a woman and mother, I am very much aware of the myths, taboos, stigma and shame that have attached to menstruation for millennia.
Even one of the great Roman philosophers (who was otherwise quite sensible) declared that menstrual blood could turn dogs mad, and as recently as a hundred years ago in Western society, it was still purported to cause flowers to wilt – and to sing while menstruating was considered downright dangerous.
In short, this most natural of processes has remained misunderstood and ignored, concealed under a veil of silence and an extraordinary range of euphemisms – the word ‘period’ wasn’t even spoken out loud in a commercial until 1985!
But here in Australia, thanks to Share the Dignity and its supportive partners, things are changing – and changing rapidly.
As your founder Rochelle Courtenay has said: “Every woman has had an experience with her period that she wouldn’t wish on another”.
Through the efforts of people like Rochelle, those stories are now being shared, especially those of homeless women, women escaping domestic violence, and those who are simply doing it tough as a result of things such as unemployment, illness or divorce.
In just seven years, Share the Dignity has developed from the spark of an idea to an exemplary charity with a driven and inspirational founder and leader, 15 committed staff, thousands of passionate volunteers and donors, an excellent Board, a great website, and a truly remarkable suite of fundraising and educational programs in support of Australian women and girls. And all that despite the disruption and hindrance of a two-year pandemic!
As Governor, I am privileged to speak for all Queenslanders, and it is now on their behalf that I thank and congratulate everyone involved with Share the Dignity and wish you every success for the future.
I will now present a certificate of Vice-Regal Patronage to your Chair, Mr Simon Tolhurst.