Be Bold For Change – Over 90 women in health celebrate International Women's Day 2017

Over 90 staff and alumni gathered at the Langham Hotel on Wednesday to celebrate International Women’s Day at an annual luncheon hosted by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences.

Guests were welcomed by Professor Christina Mitchell, the Dean of the Faculty and host of the event. With this year’s global theme, ‘Be Bold For Change’, the afternoon was a great opportunity to hear speeches and life anecdotes from several respected Monash leaders whose bold accomplishments fit well with the day’s message. The select few included Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Pauline Nestor, Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Professor Rebekah Brown and MBBS Deputy Dean, Professor Michelle Leech.

Professor Pauline Nestor, who also acted as the event’s MC, spoke candidly about challenges and personal moments she related to the day’s theme. “It's not that you're bold or not bold”, she said. “You choose to be bold or not to be bold.” She appreciates boldness and is heartened by people who step up to the plate. A proud feminist, Professor Nestor says throughout her life she has always admired women who have continually recognised injustice and done something about it.

“There is a lesson in really believing in what you want to do,” said Professor Rebekah Brown. As Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, she pulled together a team of engineers, sociologists, architects, economists, public health experts, and biologists for a game-changing research project that could potentially change the lives of millions living in urban slums around the world. In collaborating with the variety of professionals for the project, she said, “that connection has given all of us the opportunity to frame what we do in a much more powerful way.”

Enthusiastically embracing the day’s theme, Professor Michelle Leech said: “I don’t think there could be a better time for a woman to be a leader in this Faculty and in this University.” She believes surrounding yourself with people who are supportive and who want you to learn has made all the difference in her life.  “You really have found yourselves in a Faculty where boldness is possible and boldness is everywhere.”

International Women’s Day is an annual event that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women and promotes action to accelerate gender parity. For more information, please see