Balance for better: Moree celebrate 2019 International Women's Day

Women of all ages and backgrounds came together in Moree on Friday, taking time out for themselves to celebrate 2019 International Women's Day.

About 80 women attended the full-day event, organised by Pius X Aboriginal Corporation, at The Max on Friday, March 8.

"Pius is a great example of gender equality," Pius X board member Jessica Duncan said.

"It has a female CEO, female managers and the majority of the board is female - all the significant people in particular are female, so we thought it was an interesting organisation to lead the day."

The theme for this year's International Women's Day is #BalanceforBetter, which aims to build a gender-balanced world.

In fitting with the theme, Pius X's event involved a break-out session during which women had the opportunity to participate in weaving, yoga, wellness and creativity workshops.

The focus was on the importance of mindfulness and wellbeing while balancing the demands of life as a woman.

"As a medical service, we believe it’s important for women to take the time for themselves, and celebrate their achievements," Ms Duncan said.

The event also featured a mixture of guest speakers, from a range of different backgrounds who shared their life journeys and experiences as women.

"It's been really interesting to hear of the diversity of their journeys," Ms Duncan said.

“We tried to pick people that you wouldn’t normally hear sharing their story. It’s intimate to tell life journey. It’s so great for these people to be so forthcoming."

The speakers included Moree Plains Shire councillor Sue Price, Aboriginal elder Barbara Cutmore, Pius X registrar Dr Nada, Deluxe Cafe owner Cindy Poulos and Pius X social/wellbeing coordinator, and event organiser, Stephanie Duke.

Ms Duke shared her story of growing up in Moree in the 60s when the 1967 referendum came through and the impact that moving into town and later going away to boarding school, had on her life. 

“I went on to receive an education," she said.

"I didn’t realise the impact of going to boarding school would have on my life until later. It did play a major role in my education. I’m always determined to achieve goals I’ve set for myself. Education doesn’t stop, learning doesn’t stop."

In keeping with this year's theme about balance, Ms Duke also spoke of how she juggled full-time work and study while raising four children.

"The theme is balance for better, it's about balancing your life while looking after your wellbeing and self-care, as well as looking after your work, and family, and community. There’s got to be a balance," she said.

“I juggled a lot in my life.

"When I was studying I reared four children while working at the same time."

Ms Duke eventually went on to gain a bachelor of education and Aboriginal studies, and has taught all ages from preschool children, primary and high school to adults at TAFE. Eventually her passion shifted to health, and she spent a number of years as a drug and alcohol worker at Thorne House, before working at Maayu Mali. She's now the social/wellbeing coordinator at Pius X.

Ms Duke was thrilled with the response from the day and said it was a huge success.