From the Mayor's Desk - International Women’s Day

Published on 24 March 2017

From the Mayor's Desk - Clr Yvonne Keane.jpg

A message from Mayor of the Hills Shire, Councillor Yvonne Keane


International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a significant global event that acknowledges the social, economic, cultural and political contributions made by women - as well as providing an opportunity to address gender equity.

It serves as an indication of how far we’ve come and acts as a reminder of the road ahead for women. 

In my role as Mayor, I have been fortunate to meet many incredible women who have made a significant contribution to our community. Many are leaders in their chosen field. We may be from different cultural, religious and political backgrounds, but we all agree that women play a vital role in creating a vibrant and innovative community.

I am grateful for the recent opportunity we had to recognise some of these incredible women and celebrate their achievements through our Hills Shire Council International Women’s Day Awards.

It was an incredibly tough job to select winners for each category from such a strong field, and each and every entrant was recognised with either an award or a certificate and personal letter acknowledging their nomination. 

In particular, I wanted to highlight Christine Cleary, who was awarded Woman of The Year, and all of the amazing work she does without seeking recognition.

Christine has been a volunteer with the Hills State Emergency Services for over 20 years. She has also volunteered with the SISTER2sister program for 10 years and Camp Magic since 2016. In 2014 she started a registered charity called StreetMed for people who are homeless and or at-risk in Western Sydney - checking blood pressure, doing mental health checks and providing first aid and advocacy to society’s most vulnerable.

Secondly, I would like to thank Rachael Noll, who was the deserving winner of the Young Woman of The Year award, for her incredible charity work.

After leaving school in 2015, Rachael volunteered with Raw Impact – a foundation working with families in Cambodia. She was moved by the experience and sourced sponsors to support her journey back to Cambodia, spending seven months volunteering for Raw Impact as their creative intern designing product lines to raise funds as well as developing social media and promotional material to help raise awareness.

Other exceptional winners on the night included:

  • Champion of Champions: Annabelle Daniel (Women's Community Shelters) and Maria Kovacic and Amanda Rose (Western Sydney Women)
  • Unsung Hero Award: Justine Valencour
  • Business Woman of the Year: Rebecca Kidner
  • Business of the Year: The Laser Lounge
  • Business Connector of the Year: Caroline Bagga
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Elena Saadie
  • Philanthropist of the Year: Susan Cliff
  • Advocate of the Year: Linda Langton
  • Sports Woman of the Year Award: Robyn Winn and Amanda Hudson 
  • Community Leader of the Year: Yan Mary Li
  • Artist of the Year: Dilara Niriella; and
  • Wellbeing Champion of the Year: Dr Padmini Howpage

I was also delighted to attend The Hills International Women’s Day event at Springfield House in Dural on March 9. It was a privilege to open the event and reflect on some of the incredible Hills women who are paving the way for future generations.  

International Women’s Day is more than just a day to celebrate women and their achievements. It’s a day to empower, encourage and motivate. Promoting gender equality isn’t just the role of government, business or organisations. We should not underestimate the importance of individuals taking steps each and every day to support and encourage the men, women, boys and girls around us, to be bold for change and reach equality of the sexes, be it within our family, our friendship circle or colleagues. Women make up half the world’s population - or as I like to say, potential. So let's truly tap that potential. 

Together we can all make a difference!