Kwinana Women Lead

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Moorditj Koort programs manager Carmel Kickett, Kwinana mayor Carol Adams, Kwinana Early Years Services chief executive officer Annette Harwood and Kwinana Rotary Club president and City councillor Wendy Cooper.
Camera IconMoorditj Koort programs manager Carmel Kickett, Kwinana mayor Carol Adams, Kwinana Early Years Services chief executive officer Annette Harwood and Kwinana Rotary Club president and City councillor Wendy Cooper. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

This weekend will mark International Women’s Day, aimed at celebrating women’s rights and the importance of achievements made by women within communities.

The Kwinana area has no shortage of women who have achieved big things within their own fields, including working in not-for-profit and volunteer groups and in government roles.

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams was the first female elected to the role in 2006 and has been a councillor since 1997, before becoming deputy mayor in 2005. Ms Adams said for a long time she had been the only woman on the council at all, but then it had changed completely.

“The pendulum swung almost completely in the opposite direction, not just in council but in our executive structure as well,” she said.

“The focus that has been placed on the emerging and valuable role of women as professional people has opened up opportunities and paved the way for others.

“For me the day is looking back and thanking those women who have paved the way for us.”

Kwinana Rotary Club president and City of Kwinana councillor Wendy Cooper said she was proud of being able to work with the community and help out, especially because women were not part of Rotary clubs until 1968.

“In our Rotary district we still have two clubs that are all-male clubs, but being a female president of a club is not seen as unusual now,” she said.

“We have had to fight hard. It has been a slow process, but it is nice to get to a point now where women are more equal partners.

“I think being a single mum for a long time gave me the courage to be able to say ‘I can do this, and if I can do this then why not that’.”

Kwinana Early Years Services chief executive officer Annette Harwood has been in the role for 10 years and said she found the not-for-profit sector was usually dominated by women.

She said part of her job was to show women they could aspire to big things.

“If you want to be a stay-at-home mum there is nothing wrong with that, but if do you want to be a CEO, a mayor or the president of Rotary you can do that too,” she said.

“Unfortunately with my job I do see the other side of this which is the lack of gender equality in some relationships, but we are able to say to those people it does not have to be the outcome for your children, you can change the pattern.”

Moorditj Koort programs manager Carmel Kickett helps provide health checks and runs a dental program for Aboriginal children.

“I find that women are leaders within the community, now more than ever, especially at Moorditj Koort because we actually have all-female staff” she said.

“We have also taken women off the street, trained them up and seen them become leaders.”

IWD will be held on Sunday, with the theme of Each for Equal.

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