Giving women power

August 16, 2017

Proud participants in the Enabling Women Leadersip Program gather at Cobram Civic Centre for graduation day.

Last Thursday was a very special day for an extraordinary group of women.

The graduation ceremony took place at Cobram Civic Centre for the participants in the Enabling Women Leadership Program conducted at Cobram Community House.

Program mentor Jenny Godwin said she had enjoyed being involved again.

‘‘This is the second time, through Women’s Health Goulburn North East, that the program has been run,’’ Ms Godwin said.

‘‘We found the program was brilliant, bringing the women confidence, bringing them out of their shell and giving them different skills which they wouldn’t have otherwise gained.’’

Ms Godwin said there were many surprises along the journey taken by the group.

‘‘I was stunned by the problems of transport and how isolated the women get,’’ she said.

‘‘They do end up as very isolated, separate members of the community, through the lack of transport.

‘‘We get in our car and go and do our thing, but for women in this program who are visually impaired, driving is not really an option.

‘‘So they are very socially isolated — that was something that was quite surprising.

‘‘And sometimes, not knowing what your rights are — what’s okay and what’s not okay, being able to voice when it’s not okay, that was a big part of our shared learning.

‘‘The learning and the confidence that comes from the program — it makes a difference to the women.

‘‘Those are the biggest factors.’’

A lot of the women have asked to continue with the group, a sure sign that they treasured the time spent together.

‘‘It will be up to them how they take the group forward, and what form the group will take,’’ Ms Godwin said.

‘‘With the funding we have received we will be able to support them, which will be fantastic.

‘‘Different women have said they would like to find work.

‘‘Public speaking and the confidence to actually go out more into the community — some of them have spoken today — it’s awesome.’’

Program participant, Nyree Wighton from Yarrawonga, who volunteers at Yarrawonga Neighbourhood House, said she was seeking more confidence when she joined the course.

‘‘We did group activities, training, craft — it was good,’’ she said.

‘‘I am a more confident person now.’’

- Grahame Whyte

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