MAKING A CHANGE: Dr Nora Amath is passionate about human rights and drawing on her academic insight to share stories of the Muslim world.
MAKING A CHANGE: Dr Nora Amath is passionate about human rights and drawing on her academic insight to share stories of the Muslim world. DAVID KAPERNICK

Let's all press for progress

THE Zonta Club of Ipswich celebrated International Women's Day last Thursday with a breakfast at the Racehorse Hotel.

Key note speaker on the morning was Dr Nora Amath, Humanitarian and 2017 State Finalist for Australian of the Year.

Dr Amath was born in Vietnam and belongs to the Muslim minority Cham people.

Nora and her family fled their homeland when she was just four, after facing persecution from the communist regime.

Finding refuge in the US and later settling in Australia, Dr Amath has become an internationally-respected expert in Islamic studies. She is passionate about human rights and drawing on her academic insight to share stories of the Muslim world and to enhance interfaith understanding between all people.

International Women's Day was also celebrated at a lunch time function at the Ipswich Library yesteray.

Attendees at the luncheon shared the unique journeys of two respected Ipswich identities, Sonia Bitmead the manager of Currey Flowers, an Australian flower grower and supplier located in Ipswich and Lori Patrick the author of The Publican's Wife - From Milkmaid to Barmaid, which recounts her life growing up on a dairy farm during World War II

In Ipswich, we have and have had remarkable women paving the way for gender equity.

Who could forget the inspiration of Vi Jordan OAM, an Ipswich resident and the first female alderman on the Ipswich City Council and the first Labor woman elected to the Queensland Parliament.

Vi was educated at Brassall State School and later at Ipswich Girls Grammar School. In recognition of her dedication to the women's movement, the new electorate of Jordan was named after her.

Julia Gillard once commented: "One of the wonderful things I have learnt since leaving federal politics is that there is a seemingly endless supply of young, smart, talented Australian women who are passionate about creating a better and fairer world."

And nowhere better than Ipswich do we see this displayed.

Ipswich has strong female representation in State Parliament with Jennifer Howard MP.

And both neighbouring electorates are held by women as well.

State-wise only 30 seats are held by women in a parliament of 93 members.

This represents around 30 percent of the parliament and 23 of those seats are held by Labor Women.

According to Ms Howard "this is why two talented women fill the top Queensland Labor Party leadership positions..

The Ipswich City Council has four women of the eleven councillors elected to represent respective divisions of the city.

Again this figure is about 35 per cent of the total number of councillors.

International Women's Day is not country, group or organisation-specific.

The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.

So together, let's all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity.

Collectively, let's all press for progress.