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Sector celebrates women working and living in aged care

Villa Maria Catholic Homes resident Cecilia Leibu among women in aged care highlighted this International Women’s Day.

Aged care organisations have celebrated the women who work for their organisations along with those they care for this week’s International Women’s Day.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day 2018, celebrated annually on 8 March, is #PressforProgress on gender parity.

Australia is ranked 35 in the world and third in the East Asia Pacific region, behind New Zealand and the Philippines, on gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017, which benchmarks 144 countries.

Sonya Smart

Among those backing the women represented in their services is Villa Maria Catholic Homes.

VMCH CEO Sonya Smart said the ability for people, particularly single women, to keep a quality roof over their heads was one of the most compelling issues facing Australian communities.

“For me, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to focus on women, who on a daily basis, work, care for family and friends and who have often struggled to financially support themselves and their families.”

She acknowledged the organisation’s strong female workforce, which make up 82 per cent of its staff.

“I’m pleased to partner with Catholic Superannuation this International Women’s Day to provide information and tips to encourage women to take an active role in planning for their financial future.”

She also highlighted the increasing prevalence of poverty among senior Australian women, and the 71 per cent of residents living in VMCH affordable accommodation, who were single women.

VMCH provides housing support for 399 people aged 55 and over.

Richmond resident Cecilia Leibu, who moved into VMCH affordable housing in May 2017, said access to the subsidised rent meant she was not stressed.

“I feel in the private sector, you’re always wondering, ‘are they going to get rid of you’? Here, I feel safe, that’s my main priority,” Ms Leibu said.

Call to action

Fellow Victorian provider Benetas called for wide action on gender parity.

Benetas is a White Ribbon accredited workplace, achieved through a recognised commitment to stop violence against women, and two weeks ago was awarded the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the twelfth consecutive year.

Speaking at the time, CEO Sandra Hills said Benetas prided itself on its commitment to gender equality.

“In our efforts to achieve the citation we constantly push ourselves to develop innovative new ways to promote and support gender equality. Achieving this citation year after year is a priority for Benetas,” said Ms Hills.

Benetas was one of five health and social services organisations across Australia to receive the award this year along with fellow aged care providers Mercy Health and Little Company of Mary Healthcare.

Mercy Health was also celebrating the achievements of its female staff, residents and visitors yesterday:

Honouring sporting pioneers

As part of its IWD celebrations, Bolton Clarke put the spotlight on Olympic medallist Brenda Carr, 81, a resident at its Galleon Gardens Retirement Village on the Gold Coast and trail blazer for women in athletics.

Ms Carr was ready to compete in the 800-metre race at the 1956 Olympic Games in her home town of Melbourne but it was excluded from the Games  for women at that time.

However, after a 32-year hiatus the 800-metre race was reinstated in 1960 for the Rome games, where Ms Carr won the silver medal.

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