Choose to challenge this International Women’s Day

Published on 25 February 2021


Mornington Peninsula Shire is choosing to challenge gender stereotypes by once again supporting International Women’s Day (IWD) on Monday 8 March 2021 (Labour Day public holiday).
IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s UN theme is ‘women in leadership’ and promotes women’s and girl’s achievements, women’s independence and decision-making and challenges gender stereotypes and roles.
We encourage our community to join us online to raise awareness of gender equality on International Women’s Day.
This year, we’re asking you how you will choose to challenge? To make your pledge, simply visit our website and tell us in 140 characters who or what you would choose to challenge to break down gender stereotypes. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world that calls out gender bias and inequality. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.
We’ve also produced an inspiring online event of four motivational women from diverse backgrounds who shared their stories with us discussing gender equality and women in leadership. The pre-recorded discussion will be guided by award winning broadcaster, journalist, executive producer and author, Tracee Hutchison and will also include insights from our Mayor and Councillors. RPP FM will air the discussion on Monday 8 March, from 2pm. The online event will go live on Wednesday 10 March, 7.30pm across our social media pages.
The panel members include:
Phoebe McShane: Recipient of the 2021 Young Citizen of the Year in the recent Australia Day Local Awards, Phoebe, at 15 years of age, founded and directed Ausome Hoops, a specialist basketball program for children diagnosed with Autism. Spurred on by her brother George, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder she sought to change his favourite sport of Basketball to be more inclusive for others with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their local community. In 2020 Phoebe was recognised with an award by the Foundation for Young Australians and spoke to Senator Janet Rice to discuss the need for more Autism inclusive programs in Australia.
Taneisha Webster is a 28-year-old Aboriginal woman from Wathaurong Country. Taneisha has a honours degree in Psychology from the University of Adelaide and was the recipient of the Ricci Marks award in 2016. She is currently the Executive Officer – Women’s Business at Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place. Taneisha is passionate about supporting her local Aboriginal community to thrive through cultural strengthening, community connection and healing Country. Before taking on this role, she worked in the child welfare sector and was a volunteer board member at Willum Warrain for five years. 
Dr Linda Henderson is a Senior Lecturer, Early Years in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. Previously she was a specialist teacher at Woodleigh School. She entered higher education with a passion for creating positive change in education that supports all children reaching their full potential. As an early years specialist her work is focused on leadership that supports women and children. She engages teachers and teacher educators in exploring their role within education. 
Ketiah Fischer started playing basketball at four years of age following in her brother’s footsteps. She was selected at age seven to play for the Sandringham Sabres where she honed her skills and continued playing for 15 years. In 2000 she proudly became part of the first Indigenous Australian Basketball Association team playing for the Cairns Dolphins until 2005. On moving back to Melbourne, she focused on the Masters Games where she won many gold medals in the Australian Masters and Pan Pacific Games. She is now the Head Coach of Junior Development Programs at Mornington Basketball where she identifies and develops young talent.
The Shire has consistently demonstrated our commitment to improving gender equality and reducing violence against women and their children. Our Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2030 is both internally and externally focused. The Strategy and Action Plan will promote and embed fair gender practice in our policies, programs and services as well as working with our community to significantly contribute to achieving gender equity across our Peninsula.

To make your pledge or to attend the online event, visit:

Quotes attributable to Mayor Councillor Despi O’Connor

“By amplifying the voices of women on International Women’s Day, we start to break the glass ceiling of gender inequality.”

“The powerful and inspirational women who spoke as part of the panel discussion strengthen our commitment to promoting gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and their children as articulated in our Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2030.”

“I’m proud to be Mayor in a majority female Council, with a female deputy by my side, and hope this video for International Women’s Day can help create an inclusive world of positive, equal and respectful relationships. Let’s all choose to challenge.”

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