To launch the first-ever International Women’s Day in 1975, members of Loreto Toorak’s orchestra performed at a civic celebration at Melbourne Town Hall. Every year since the Mary Ward commitment to upholding the dignity and rights of women the world over has been re-affirmed, celebrated and promoted. In 2021 the Mary Ward network marked IWD with creativity and conviction:
All Loreto schools invited alumnae to reflect on their lives through the lens of Mary Ward values and the UN call to celebrate women in leadership in a COVID-19 world.
Mary Ward International Australia’s new vision statement places the leadership of women at the heart of its mission and strategic plan:
“A just world where women share leadership, children thrive, and communities live in harmony with each other and the earth.”
We delight in the various MWIA projects that impact positively on the experience of women, such as the termination of Female Genital Mutilation program in Kenya, micro-enterprise tailoring project in Peru, and nurse education project in Zambia.
A resource outlining the experience and leadership of Mary Ward women during COVID-19 was launched by the CJ/IBVM desk at the United Nations on International Women’s Day.
All Year 10 students from Loreto schools participated in a webinar exploring the impact of girls’ education. Guest speakers included Loreto Sisters from Ireland / South Sudan and Vietnam, who explored the importance of educating girls and young women in a safe and enriching environment.
Srs Janet Palafox ibvm and Cynthia Mathew cj, our representatives at the United Nations, and three dynamic Aussie interns (Aislinn, Charlotte, and Evangeline) participated in virtual sessions of the UN’s 65th Commission on the Status of Women. Information on CSW65 has been shared on Loreto and MWIA’s social media.
Friends of Mary Ward will walk on March 15 to add our voices to calls for equity and justice for women in all spheres of domestic and public life.
Our prayerful engagement on and around International Women’s Day is always a hallmark of our commitment to God’s vision of a world made whole for all.
Women’s experience is front and centre of public discourse at present. As friends of Mary Ward, let us ‘love and speak the truth at all times’ – personal truth and truth to power. Let us support each other as we address issues of importance with courageous conversations at our dinner tables, in our classrooms and at board meetings. Mary Ward is often quoted -‘women in time to come will do much’… women are doing much!
Author: Anne Muirhead, Director of Mission, Loreto Ministries, and member of the Loreto Justice Network.
Feature Image: Students of Loreto College Marryatville | International Women’s Day 2021