ACU celebrates International Women’s Day

Published: Wednesday 3rd February 2016

Celebrations for International Women’s Day are gearing up across Australian Catholic University (ACU) with major events planned for 8 March.

ACU is officially celebrating International Women's Day on a national scale, a global event highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Notable ACU alumni – including Ella Bache CEO Pippa Hallas, Street Swags founder Jean Madden, and Looking for Alibrandi author Melina Marchetta, will speak at a series of breakfasts and receptions across five campuses to celebrate the occasion.

Some of ACU’s most senior female staff will host these events and acknowledge ACU’s women graduates and how they make a major difference.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Teaching and Learning) Professor Anne Cummins said women have a distinctive perspective integrating relational and business goals.

“They frequently see complex nuances and have tenacity and courage,” Professor Cummins said.

Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW/ACT) Professor Marea Nicholson believes that it is important for ACU’s graduates to advocate for the diverse perspectives of women to be reflected in work practices and community priorities.

“Women need to ensure that they commit their considerable abilities to deliver equitable outcomes for all, and challenge the many assumptions that limit opportunities for themselves and others” Professor Nicholson commented.

Executive Dean of Health Sciences Professor Michelle Campbell said the number of women in leadership positions in all workplaces, not just Universities, is increasing all the time.

“Women have many traits that make them good leaders – they are very nurturing, caring, compassionate and collaborative. They demonstrate more empathy and are more adaptive,” she said.

“Not to say they are better than men – just different, with different styles and traits.”

Professor Campbell said women make a difference in the workplace by being able to manage the opposing challenges of life and career.

“They are often visionary and innovative in their work practices, and are able to adapt and manage changing situations,” she said.

“Workplaces need to acknowledge women as being excellent mangers and leaders who can have a positive impact and make a significant difference to a workplace.”

The events on Tuesday, 8 March include:

North Sydney

Where: Tenison Woods House, Level 22, 8- 20 Napier Street, North Sydney

When: Breakfast, 7am to 9am

Hosts: Professor Anne Cummins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) and Professor Marea Nicholson, Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW and ACT).

Speakers: The Centre for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate, Looking for Alibrandi author Melina Marchetta and Ella Bache CEO Pippa Hallas.


Where: The Pavilion Fitzroy Gardens, 230-298 Wellington Parade

When: Breakfast, 7am to 9am

Hosts: Thomas More Law School Dean Professor Rocque Reynolds and Professor Michelle Campbell, Executive Dean of Health Sciences

Speakers: The Welcome Group founder and president Penny Daly, who was also a 2015 ACU Alumni Award Winner for Community Leadership, and 2015 ACU Young Alumni Award Jessica Hansson.


Where: Leadership Centre, Level 3, 229 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane

When: Reception, 5.30pm to 7pm

Hosts: Deputy Dean of Education and Arts Professor Geraldine Castleton and National Head of School of Business Professor Susan Dann.

Speakers: Street Swags founder and director Jean Madden, Paralympian (Swimming) and author of No Ordinary Girl Tamara Nowitzki, and, Pyjama Foundation founder and director and Queensland Australian of the Year 2009, Bronwyn Sheehan.


Where: National Museum of Australia, Bay Window

When: Reception, 5.30pm to 7pm

Hosts: Institute of Child Protection Studies director Professor Morag McArthur and Campus Library Manager Helena Zobec.

Speakers: Radford College principal Fiona Godfrey and Clinical and Forensic Psychologist and ACU Alumni Award Winner 2015 for Community Engagement Dr Sarah Miller


Where: Catherine of Siena Centre, Education Centre

When: Reception, 5.30pm to 7pm

Hosts: Professor of Nursing Karen Francis and Maths Education, School of Education Associate Professor Gloria Stillman.

Speakers: Director of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Ballarat, Audrey Brown, and Avenel Kindergarten director Emma Larsen

Register for these events