Prime Minister Julia Gillard and UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid
On the eve of International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Julia Gillard returned to the University of Western Sydney to join women from across the region in a celebration of the achievements of women past and present.
UWS Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid last night hosted the event which was attended by previous winners of the Women of the West and Young Women of the West awards
(opens in a new window) and nominees for the 2013 awards, local Aboriginal elders as well as senior University staff.
Professor Reid says International Women’s Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the triumphs and advances of women in this country.
“This is a celebration of the creativity, the inspiration, the leadership and the sheer determination of women in Western Sydney and across Australia,” says Professor Reid.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard with 2013 Young Women of West winner Mariah Okeroa
In a speech delivered last night at the Parramatta campus, Prime Minister Gillard highlighted the important role education, particularly higher education, plays in improving the lives of women.
“This University is a factory of suburban opportunity it speaks to us about the things that we are trying to achieve for Australians around the nation, particularly women,” says Ms Gillard.
“When we trace our life as a nation for too long it was women who were locked out of the doors of universities. For too long it was women who didn’t get an equal opportunity for a higher education indeed for education at all and we are changing that. This University is changing that. Our policies are changing it.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard with 2013 Women of the West winner Alison McLaren
At the event Prime Minister Gillard met inspiring women from the community, many of whom have been recognised with Women of the West nominations or awards
“Nothing really lifts up my heart more than hearing these stories of opportunity and achievement,” says Ms Gillard.
"There are so many women from various walks of life who live lives of strength so others can live lives of opportunity.”