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Date posted: 10 March 2014
Three well-deserving Indigenous women from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have been recognised for their contribution to Women's rights on International Women's Day.
Katrina Fanning an advocate for the needs of Indigenous women at work, in the community and through sport has been named the ACT Woman of the Year. Ms Fanning has contributed to the lives of Canberra women and girls as a member of the Canberra NAIDOC committee and the ACT representative on the National Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee.
Ms Fanning is also a member of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council and was instrumental in organising the first female Indigenous test between Australia and New Zealand in 2003. She has represented Australia for over 13 years in rugby league, rugby union and indoor soccer. Ms Fanning says sport has always been a way of bringing communities together.
But Ms Fanning says sport is not always a level playing field for Indigenous women.
'For a lot of our communities the women are the people holding things together and that makes it really hard to do the level of training and travelling that's required to reach the highest levels in sport,' she said.
Another top ACT women Kate Eisenberg, has been awarded the 2014 ACT Young Woman of the Year title for her work as a medical professional at Calvary Hospital and science educator at Questacon. Dr Eisenberg is currently undertaking her medical internship after completing a post-graduate degree in Canberra.
She says while she loves her research and work at the hospital, she could not pass up the opportunity to work with children at Questacon. 'It's quite an inspirational thing to show young girls 'Yeah we can do it too, we're just as smart and it's just as much fun for us,'
Dr Eisenberg says there is a common misconception that women's health focuses only on the physiological differences between men and women.
'Women's health issues also focus on the different emotional requirements that some women have and the differences between men and women,' she said. 'Equality and equity are really important but it's also important to recognise the differences between men and women and that's what a lot of what my research has been about in medicine.'
The third recipient recognised for her advocacy to breaking down barriers of disability, is the ACT Senior Women of the Year Sue Salthouse. She has been working to address discrimination against disabled women in employment, education, health, transport and housing.
Ms Salthouse is helping to shape the Government's roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the ACT as the co-chair of the ACT NDIS panel. After an accident in 1995, Ms Salthouse entered the workforce as a disabled woman.
She says it was the first time she saw clearly the disparity disabled women faced in everyday life.
'It just seemed that there was a great deal of work that could be done to try to shine a spotlight on those areas and to make a difference,' Ms Salthouse said. She says disabled women face a double discrimination.
Congratulation to all three women on their achievements from the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.