THE Zonta Club of Ballarat welcomed six new Honourees at the tenth anniversary celebrations of Ballarat’s Great Women.
Guest Speaker Patty Kinnersly traced the history of women’s suffrage and the desire of Staff at Women’s Health Grampians during her period as CEO in 2006 to acknowledge the centenary of women’s suffrage in 2008.
Their idea? To call for and publish the stories of women in Ballarat nominated by their peers for outstanding contribution to our city.
Members of the Zonta Club of Ballarat were privileged to play a part in this process.
Two years later, on International Women’s day 8 March 2008, 380 men and women gathered at the Bell Tower to recognise 113 women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds profiled in the publication Amongst Ballarat’s Finest.
In subsequent years, Women’s Health Grampians and the Zonta Club of Ballarat continued their partnership in annual recognition of an increasing number of women of distinction in the city and surrounding areas, in a program known as Ballarat’s Great Women.
By 2012, this was no longer a core part of the work of Women’s Health Grampians, and the program was adopted by Zonta. Up to the present time, more than 180 women’s names appear on the Honour Roll.
This year’s Honourees are •Lisa Hayden business woman, writer, cancer survivor, fundraiser and advocate •Associate Professor MaryRose McLaren – actor, author, communicator, director, lecturer, initiator, collaborator •Claire Rasmussen – influential VET leader, educator, problem solver, agent of change, artist and musician •Joyce Ryall – business woman, entrepreneur, philanthropist •Amy Tsilemanis – key motivator in our city’s arts and culture •Patty Kinnersly – leading welfare, health and education professional Ballarat’s Great Womens a signature program for the Zonta Club of Ballarat, member of Zonta International, an organisation founded in 1919 and represented in 66 countries worldwide, working to empower women and girls locally and globally through service and advocacy.
Profits from this year’s event will be shared between the Victorian Women’s Trust and Zonta’s international projects in Liberia and Madagascar. It is poignant that the donation to the VWT will go to their first harm prevention sub-fund named in honour of local woman Robyn Mason, a passionate feminist, social worker and academic who was well known in the region for her work focused on the needs of rural women, training and supporting foster carers in the Central Highlands and later working as a counsellor with Ballarat’s Centre Against Sexual Assault.