Wednesday, 14 June 2023
Reception for National Council of Women South Australia
I warmly welcome you all to Government House, to celebrate the volunteers of the National Council of Women SA.
As your patron I am proud to continue the long relationship between the Council and Government House.
At your 120th anniversary luncheon last year, I said I looked forward to supporting the Council by bringing women together and encouraging you to continue to make a difference.
It’s my great pleasure to do just that this evening.
Since 1902, many thousands of women have become individual members, and hundreds of organisations have become affiliated with, the Council.
Your work advocating for gender equality is the foundation of your organisation.
Over the years this work has been expressed through a range of priorities, responding to the most urgent challenges of the time affecting women, from workplace harassment to housing costs, to reconciliation and climate change.
I commend you all for endeavouring to ensure that women’s rights are recognised as human rights, that women are safe, and that they are represented at all levels of decision making.
I thank you for your advocacy and for recognising the efforts of outstanding women through a range of awards, introduced at various times in your history.
I am pleased to see that the overarching message to your members is that every voice counts.
As we reflect on the length of your organisation’s history – 121 years – we see both that great progress has been made for women in our society, and that there remains much to do.
You may have heard quoted, or seen in a recent UN Women advertisement, that at our current trajectory, humans will have a colony on the Moon before there is gender equality on Earth.
Gender equality is one of my focus areas as Governor, and it is my privilege to meet South Australian women from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Sometimes this involves organisations of which I am patron, including your Council of course, and others such as the SA Women’s Memorial Playing Fields Trust, and the Lyceum Club, for which I launched their centenary book, ‘One Hundred Years of Women’s Voices’. Or even the SANFL where I am deploying what I would describe as “patronly encouragement” when it comes to the introduction of match fees for women.
It has been my great pleasure to support the advancement of indigenous women by hosting events at Government House, such as for the Gladys Elphick Awards, the SA Women’s Firestick Conference, and the Adelaide Football Club Kuwa Circles program, which helps indigenous girls with career pathways in STEM.
I’m a strong supporter of Women in STEM, through National Science Week, and of women breaking ground in their chosen fields, such as winemaker Jane Mitchell whom I recently saw inducted into the Australian Grape and Wine Hall of Fame, the first woman in 48 years.
I am honoured to join you all, and many other women, on our state’s journey towards gender equality, as we make our unique contributions to the cause.
Witnessing women pursue their convictions and talents, break down barriers and, most of all, work together to bring about change is one of the most rewarding parts of my role.
I thank all Council members – in particular those volunteers receiving certificates this evening – for the dedication, persistence and passion you bring to your work.
I extend my best wishes to the Council for the future, as you continue to do what you do best: standing together for a stronger voice.