Today, March 8, Australia joins the world in a celebration of International Women’s Day with the 2017 theme “Be Bold For Change”.
It’s an opportunity to renew our nation’s commitment to help women and girls achieve their full potential and to value women and men’s contributions to our nation’s prosperity equally.
The value of every individual life is an important, and foundational, Judeo-Christian principle and Australia, based on this standard, has many examples of women who have created massive change through bold advocacy.
One in particular stands out for me.
Edith Cowan OBE (1861 – 1932) is the woman on our Australian $50 banknote.
It’s a well-deserved honour for an amazing woman. Edith was a social worker and a feminist who went on to enter Federal Parliament as Australia’s first female politician. She campaigned strongly for reforms for women, children and migrants. She was instrumental in establishing the Children’s Court, and was one of the first women appointed to the bench. She was also one of the first women elected to the Anglican Synod in 1916. She was a quiet individual, but at the same time incredibly bold, and her life was purposeful and lived fully in a way that had a positive effect on the lives of the most vulnerable in society.
Perhaps Edith’s determination to help others originated in her own vulnerability. Edith’s mother died in childbirth and shortly thereafter, Edith was sent to a Perth boarding school. But her adolescence was further shattered when her father was tried and hanged for the murder of his second wife. Experiences such as these will never leave a person untouched. For Edith, it instilled in her a resolve to work for social reforms which would enhance the dignity of women and which secured proper care for mothers and children in need.
On this International Women’s Day let’s remember our foundational values of respect for the freedom and dignity of every individual, and the equality before God of all men and women.
I for one am inspired by the life of Edith Cowan and I want to learn more of what it means to live a life of forgiveness, of love and of self-sacrifice, and to be all that God has intended me to be.
Be Bold For Change.
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are co-workers in God’s service.