WHEN Vanessa Done was growing up, she watched her mum juggle being a parent along with working and studying to receive her science degree - a rarity for women at that time.

This is why Mrs Done, who is now Head of Science at Maryborough State School, honours her mother each year on International Women's Day.

"I grew up surrounded by strong women," Mrs Done said.

"So (International Women's Day) is my way of giving back to the women of our community."


To celebrate IWD, Maryborough State High School held a morning tea for every female staff member and every female student in year 12.

About 120 women attended.

Mrs Done said the day was about women mentoring the next generation and the importance of standing up for their rights, gender equality and health services which were often taken for granted.

"We're deliberately showing them what's happening in other countries and the health benefits we take advantage of that other women don't have access to," she said.


"We're making sure we're empowering women coming from behind us and how to be women in the 21st century.

"We want young women to know there are fantastic opportunities which await you after school so grab it with both hands and run with it."

It was this advice which school captain Bethany Robinson said made her feel inspired by the women she was surrounded by.

"We got to celebrate all the wonderful women we have in school and the strong and independent teachers that inspire us each and every day," Bethany said.

"I'll be celebrating my mum (Judith) and my sisters (Sarah and Emily) because they encourage me every day to do what I believe in as well as my teacher Mrs Done."

Bethany said it was important each woman knew their worth and took the time to appreciate one another.

"There's such a huge gender gap in society and we get to recognise there are so many people in the world doing amazing things," she said.

"It's about inspiring a lot of young girls to follow their dreams and do what they think is important and what they think is right."

Money raised from the morning tea, where participants were asked to contribute a gold coin donation, was put towards the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Hospital.

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is an organisation run by Dr Catherine Hamlin and is dedicated to restoring the health and dignity of women who have survived obstetric fistula, a preventable childbirth injury.

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