Over 400 members of the NSW Country Women’s Association (CWA) participated in the CWA Conference held in Bega from 3rd – 6th May, of whom 200 were voting members. The Conference was very different to those in previous years in terms of fewer participant numbers, however members reported that it was great to catch up with old friends as well as meet new members and listen to presentations by a range of guest speakers.
The first guest speaker was the Governor of NSW, the Hon. Margaret Beazley AC QC. Margaret spoke about the Conference theme of “Strength in Adversity”, and related it to the 99-year history of the CWA, which has seen members working together to successfully lobby and raise funds to address issues affecting women and children in rural and remote areas.
Margaret made mention of the CWA’s Drought Aid Scheme which commenced in 2018 and has seen over 19 million dollars raised to help communities beset with drought, as well as the organisation’s sterling commitment over the last three years to support medical research and treatment of endometriosis.
The second guest speaker was the NSW Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, who spoke about CWA’s advocacy and leadership in all issues for women and children in rural and remote areas – be these issues agricultural, environmental, health, transport, telecommunications – the CWA has always been an effective vehicle for women’s voices to be heard.
The keynote speaker was Lucy Bloom, who is an accomplished business leader with a background in advertising, start-up innovation, and experience as CEO of two major international aid charities. Lucy’s principal message was that “Strength in Adversity” is great, but “Strength in Diversity” is far more important.
Lucy challenged participants to look around them, and if they saw people who looked just like them, then this was a problem. Diversity brings with it a range of backgrounds and experiences and different ways of approaching issues. Lucy spoke of her key three values of courage (a muscle that needs to be exercised), kindness (which is contagious), and fun.
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