SWL began this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations in Sydney, with a cocktail reception hosted at the beautiful Hunters Hill residence of Founding Member and Events Chair NSW, Kerry-Anne Johnston.
As guests arrived displaying their ‘touch of purple’ outfits, they were greeted by a striking flower wall and purple gin cocktails, which marked the significance of purple as a historically important colour for women, including representing the suffragette movement and the official colour of International Women’s Day.
Before hearing from guest speaker Anne Carey, guests were welcomed by SWL Chair Anita Pahor who thanked Kerry-Anne for sponsoring such a special and significant event for members and their invited guests. After this warm welcome, guests heard a very interesting local story of inspirational and historically important woman, Mary Reibey. One of the most prominent women in Hunters Hill and perhaps Australian history, Mary was one of the most famous early convict women in the colony of New South Wales. Arriving in Australia as a convict, Mary went on to run an extensive importing and mercantile business, becoming an extremely successful business woman and philanthropist. Today, Australians can see Mary Reibey on the front of the twenty-dollar note.
Following this intriguing historic insight from Kerry-Anne, guest speaker Anne Carey overwhelmed the room with her insights into the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and how the Australian Red Cross led the international humanitarian community at a time of such desperation. Moving the room to tears, Anne described her time spent in enduring heat in protective clothing, trying her best to help as many people as she could. From doctors who caught Ebola while trying to help their patients, to tiny babies, Anne saw people from all walks of life lose their life to this terrible disease. It is for this reason that SWL supports the Australian Red Cross Aid Worker program – supporting women like Anne in humanitarian emergencies providing such essential care to those who need it most.
After Anne’s moving speech, Chair Anita Pahor reiterated the true purpose of why guests were gathering on International Women’s Day for such a special event. Supporting the humanitarian work of the Australian Red Cross, and empowering thousands more women in programs across Australia and around the world is the true focus of SWL and its members. The event also welcomed three of the newest members of SWL – Suzanne Elliot, Vinca Hoare and Nicole Steven. After hearing from Anita about why the Red Cross emblem is so important around the world, the three new members received their member’s bracelet which proudly display the emblem. SWL thanks Blackmores for supporting our circle through the sponsor-a-member initiative, sponsoring four women from their organisation into SWL including Suzanne, Vinca and Nicole.
Thank you to Kerry-Anne Johnston for sponsoring such a wonderful event on International Women’s Day and helping for members and guests alike to remind themselves of the meaning of the day, and why it is important that it is celebrated by women in Australia and around the world.