I am woman, hear me roar

Lavender warms up the IWD crowd on Friday.

Anyone who thinks feminists dont have a sense of humour hasnt met Lavender.

On Friday morning Lavender addressed a group of about 35 women on the corner of Magellan and Carrington streets to kick off a march for womens rights to celebrate International Womens Day.

Lets start with a collective meeting so we can have consensus on the route were going, Lavender began, much to the amusement of the meeting-hardened crowd. This is the one day of the year where women should feel free to speak out and, we hope, be listened to.

Feminism is not just about revising the power imbalance its about changing the whole system to benefit everyone.

Cr Jenny Dowell spoke to the crowd about the need for younger women to engage with feminism and be less complacent.

Women are still under-represented in decision-making roles, Cr Dowell said. The term feminism no longer seems to empower. Many young women dont understand what feminism means and are then shocked when theyre greeted by the glass ceiling when they join the workforce.

Too many women think the fight has been won when it hasnt.

Lismore High School year-nine student Sarah Hort and 19-year-old childcare worker Peace Courage were two of the few younger women present.

Ms Hort said that while she didnt call herself a feminist, women needed to stand up and fight for their rights at work.

I dont want to walk around with girl power written on my shirt but women dont have it as good as men, Ms Hort said.

I call myself an equalist, Ms Courage added. Everything is about balance and if women are not equal to men then the whole thing is out of whack.

The small but vocal group marched around the main block chanting slogans demanding equal pay, recognition of unpaid work in the home, and other issues, ending up in Heritage Park, where they had a celebratory picnic.

Meanwhile, at the aptly renamed Goddess Pavilion at Oakes Oval four successful local women talked about their experiences in their careers.

Margi Hill, general manager of Community Connections, spoke of her time working in social work; NSW rural woman of the year Tracey Knowland talked about setting up a wholesale nursery; Nora Vidler-Blanksby regaled the crowd with tales of volunteering and Lismore Base Hospital director of nursing Liz Clarke gave a history of nursing.

The speeches were followed by a belly-dancing display from Belladonna.


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