Women (hold up half the sky)

As mentioned last week, I went to Katrine Hildyard’s International Women’s Day dinner a couple of weeks ago. It’s an annual event held away from IWD in March (which is a pretty hectic time of year in Adelaide), celebrating local women’s contributions to community life here. It has featured in this blog before. As usual it was a really enjoyable evening – lots of fun, music (from some young women attending Christies Beach High), and the presentations and acknowledgements of older and younger women doing really good things to keep local community life going – taking kids to footy, in the surf lifesaving club, Probus members, young women supporting family members who struggle with ill health, some being really good neighbours and more, more, more.

I went with a lovely woman, Margaret, whom I met many years ago. She has lived in the south for over 30 years, arriving here after leaving a bad marriage and isolation in a small country town, where she landed with her family from the UK prior to that. She has been a participant in community activities of all kinds for years, and in particular was a regular at Southern Women’s Health Service for a long time. In recent years she has been a volunteer with the Royal Society for the Blind and goes with the groups on outings and helps things run smoothly.

My most memorable connection with Margaret was the day she came into the Health Village where I worked with a neighbour of hers. This woman was in an abusive relationship of many many years standing – nearly 40. Margaret supported her to get help, and that help led to her leaving the relationship, getting a new place to live (with the help of the Housing Trust), and having 15 happy years living independently before she died. This quiet, unsung support was so important to this woman and is often crucial to people working through troubles and moving on to better lives.

These hidden and mostly unacknowledged contributions to the well-being of those around us are vital to a good life, and women are central to doing those deeds. It was terrific to be there celebrating with such fantastic folk.

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