True 'grit' of rural women on full display during special day

International Day of Rural Women celebrated across NSW

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Catherine Marriot covered a variety of topics during the Grit webinar on Friday. Photo: Supplied

Catherine Marriot covered a variety of topics during the Grit webinar on Friday. Photo: Supplied

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Webinar helps mark International Day of Rural Women.

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COUNTRY women have enjoyed a well-earned day in the spotlight as part of the International Day of Rural Women with a variety of celebrations held across the state.

One of the biggest events to mark the day was the Grit webinar hosted by Gro Events Group, which was held in conjunction with Rural Aid as well as featured guest speaker Riverine Plains chief executive officer, 2019 University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award winner, Australian Rural Leadership Program graduate and 2012 Western Australia Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriot.

Topics covered during the one-hour webinar, which was tuned into by more than 180 viewers, included the challenges rural women have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gro Events Group founder Dimity Smith said everyone who attended the online function took a lot away from the event.

"It was just unreal to hear Catherine's story and what her understanding of grit meant," Ms Smith told The Land.

"One of the key things Heidi from Rural Aid highlighted was that for years rural women were flogging themselves getting through the drought and we then never really got to celebrate the fact the drought was over because of the pandemic.

"So events like these are really pivotal right now because of the fact we can actually celebrate and have a day dedicated to the impact women have on rural areas."

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Ms Smith said as well as being a celebration, the webinar also gave attendees tools to help prioritise their own mental health.

"One of the big things Catherine Marriot spoke about was controlling the controllable, working on the things you can work with, accept the things you can't change and be grateful for what you do have," she said.

"The other big thing was ensuring rural women knew to reach out when they needed support because while there is a lot of messages out there for men to get support, there's not as much for women and women tend to try and carry on to ensure people around them are alright.

"Overall, the event was really successful and given things are starting to open up a bit now, we are hopeful we can host an in-person event in the not-too-distant future."

Also acknowledging the role women play everyday and especially during the pandemic was the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, which highlighted the roles countless women play in rural communities.

"It is an honour to be a rural doctor, and even more so to be able to make a difference in the lives of so many rural women," Rural Doctors Association of Australia president-elect Dr Megan Belot said.

"Many female rural doctors provide inspiration and encouragement for rural kids who get to see, first hand, women with successful careers, who are leaders and respected members of their communities, and who provide mentorship for many young people, particularly those aspiring to a medical career.

"On International Day of Rural Women we ask everyone to take a moment to appreciate the contribution of women to rural communities, and to support these great women to step up into leadership roles when an opportunity presents.

"Women play a pivotal role in the resilience of rural communities, and we thank them for everything that they do."

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