CEO of Caringa Enterprises Ltd Janet Ocholla steered clear of yesterday’s celebrations.
CEO of Caringa Enterprises Ltd Janet Ocholla steered clear of yesterday’s celebrations. Adam Hourigan

Valley's women celebrate

NSW Greens candidate for Clarence Janet Cavanaugh believes that after a century of struggle, there is still plenty for the women’s movement to achieve.

Yesterday she joined 62 other Clarence Valley women for a breakfast in Grafton to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Ms Cavanaugh said the 100th International Women’s Day was an important event to celebrate advances in women’s rights over the past century, and to remind ourselves how far we have to go before there is full equality.

“It seems incredible to me that, after 110 years of being able to stand for parliament, only a quarter of the seats in the NSW lower house are actually held by women,” she said.

Ms Cavanaugh said she hoped that as more women were elected, it would become more civilised.

One prominent local woman, Caringa Enterprises CEO Janet Ocholla, who did not take part in the celebration, said events held specifically for women did not make sense.

She said it made women look like they needed to be supported, when they don’t.

“We can’t expect respect if we hold women’s days across the country,” she said.

“I think it is discrimination, there isn’t a men’s day, is there?”

Mrs Ocholla said there were more females than males working in human and disability services, but most women held lower level positions.

Mrs Ocholla, who has been CEO for the past seven years, put her success down to plenty of hard work.

“Determination, hard work and passion for the industry has got me where I am today,” she said.

“The world has changed for women, we even have a female prime minister now, which is great.

“I think to be a successful woman today is to always look at the hard times to make you stronger.

“Women and men are on the same playing field and have the same coaches.”

Dirtgirl creators celebrated the day sipping on lemon grass tea and reflecting on what was good about the world.

Cate McQuillen said International Women’s Day was important and we needed to encourage women to achieve their dreams.

In the beginning of the production of Dirtgirl there were 171 people with their hands in the pot and 90 per cent of them were women.

Dirtgirl is a female role model fighting for peace and love in the world.

Recently Ms McQuillen went to Munich for a conference about the making of a children’s television series in Iraq.

“It was very interesting to see that people in Iraq were still drawing from wells, using hand-held cameras and wearing burqas,” she said.

“It made me realise how lucky I am to be born in a time where the path for women has been laid by women in the ’50s and ’60s.

“Past women put a voice in conversation for women today.

"I think every day how lucky I am to be able to have the opportunity to take advantage of their ground work.”



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