by BPW Australia president Jasmyn Mumme
BPW Coffs Harbour celebrated our worldwide status at the annual International Candlelighting ceremony.
Our commitment to the work of BPW was strengthened by messages from International president Dr Amany Asfour of Egypt and national president, Jasmyn Munne.
Here is an extract from the Jasmyn's message:
"It's 2018 and BPW - Business and Professional Women Australia - stands strong and even more relevant as we take time in this new year to review and acknowledge we are now on the brink of reaching our goal of gender equality.
"Today we live in a time where gender equality is covered in all media, every magazine and newspaper, the social media, TV, radio talk shows and panels.
"It's everywhere creating debate, making victims bolder, educating new generations and calling for change.
"Where once we begged for media air time we see and hear everywhere the topics of equal pay, gender impact on profitability and equal rights.
"These are now part of everyday media, political, home and workplace conversations.
"Womens' right to safety, at work in the home or in the community, is on the national and international agenda.
"A simple campaign like #MeToo owes some of its success to the phenomena that is social media but what is it that gave women the power to speak up decades after being abused?
"Millions of women worldwide were emboldened to speak up and social media also helped the Women's March last year to connect millions across the globe in a united purpose for gender equality.
"To understand all of this we need to acknowledge the work of generations.
"It was the women of BPW, working with members of other grassroots organisations worldwide, who lobbied, researched and challenged leaders around the world over the last eight decades to cultivate the ground for that to happen.
"We can be proud of our part in this progress.
"Listening to the stories of our mothers we know huge progress has been made but we must not miss this current wave that calls for change and we need to continue our seventy-year passionate contribution to making real change here in Australia.”
To find out more about the work of BPW visit www.bpw.com.au/coffsharbour