Women from across Greater Shepparton gathered to celebrate accomplishments and successes by women on International Women’s Day.
Hosted by Greater Shepparton Women’s Charter Alliance advisory committee on Thursday, this year’s theme ‘‘Women Designed, Not Defined’’ aimed to break stereotypes around women and what they stand for.
Organiser, deputy mayor and advisory chairwoman Seema Abdullah said the night was a way for women to come together to celebrate joys, successes and listen to stories that provoked discussion.
‘‘This year is about not looking at the stereotypes when you think about women, what they can do, what they can’t do,’’ Cr Abdullah said.
‘‘It’s very much about them being defined and that’s up to the individuals to stand up and make their own design, to tell the world out there that this is what they are, and this is what they stand for.’’
Discussing the ‘‘Women Designed, Not Defined’’ topic was a range of Shepparton influencers, including Kaz Gurney, Serana Hunt-Hughes, Alana Johnson, Zakia Baig and Aunty Merle Miller.
Cr Abdullah said it was important for the region to have such events in order to raise women up and improve self-esteem.
‘‘It’s an opportunity for us to come together, look at our roles models, have intelligent conversations and take pride in our women,’’ Cr Abdullah said.
The annual event is also central to the Women’s Charter Awards, which calls on women in the community who have achieved great things to be recognised.
This year’s award winner was Shepparton’s Kathryn Sims, who has spent the past 40 years volunteering and had been involved in a wide range of community initiatives.
Ms Sims was recognised for her work with newly-arrived Syrian families, her role in the picnic for peace, Rotary and raising awareness about the struggles and issues of new arrivals.
Her name will be added to the women’s honour role at Shepparton’s Queen’s Gardens.