On October 30, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand convened the inaugural Our Daughters conference in Sydney to encourage collective responsibility for the cycle of disadvantage for young women.
“When gender inequity is coupled with a background of socio-economic disadvantage, the impact on the health, wellbeing and education of our young women becomes detrimental,” Said Dr Rhonda Cumberland, CEO, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand.
Tracey Spicer, Dr Rhonda Cumberland, Professor Helen Christensen, Tracy Adams and Assoc. Professor Kitty te Riele were among some of the leading service providers calling for joint conversation and action to disrupt the inequity of disadvantage for young women. They each shared personal experience, theoretical and best practice solutions to some of the problems faced by young women today.
Participants then had a variety of workshops to choose from in order to hear practical strategies for how to deal with some of the issues young women are facing today. Good Shepherd are very grateful to all speakers who contributed to the success of the day.
The highlight of the day was hearing from 4 young women who were previously clients of Good Shepherd services. Each openly described how they had overcome great adversity and claimed their own opportunity. They spoke of the counselling and alternative education Good Shepherd provided them and evoked St Mary Euphrasia’s belief that “Every person is as important as the whole world.” They each said it was this belief that was shown by staff and volunteers at Good Shepherd, and others, that made the difference and gave them the confidence to set goals and work towards achieving them.
According to Lyn Harrison, Director of Services, NSW: “My staff and I are constantly in awe of the courage, resilience, determination and ability of the young women who enter our service. It’s always a pleasure getting to know a young person, but there is nothing like the pride we feel when we can be with them to celebrate their achievements. We were extremely honoured that Yarie, Kaytlin, Bernadette and Isadore chose to provide that privilege by sharing their lived experience at Our Daughters 2014.” Conference delegates agreed by celebrating the achievements of the girls with a standing ovation.
Good Shepherd acknowledges with gratitude the sponsors of Our Daughters 2014: National Australia Bank, Catholic Church Insurance, Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, the Trading Circle and Sydney Business Partnerships.