Women in the Mission
International Women's Day (8 March 2023) is a time to recognise and celebrate the incredible contributions that women have made.
Throughout the District, countless inspiring women have broken down barriers and created opportunities for others, leaving a lasting impact on their communities. This article includes just a few examples from around the District.
To start off, we want to recognise some of the outstanding accomplishments of women in the New Zealand Sector.
Melinda Stevenson, Deputy-Principal and Curriculum leader at Francis Douglas Memorial College, has brought about significant positive changes to the delivery of the College's curriculum. Her work has made her a highly sought-after consultant for the Ministry of Education in Wellington. Anna Zsigovits-Mace also works at FDMC as Assistant Principal for the Catholic and Lasallian Special Character; she has made substantial contributions to the Sector and is a member of the New Zealand Sector Council.
At John Paul College in Rotorua, we have Bernadette Frederickson, Coordinator and Foundation Leader of the Signum Fidei group and Paulene Walsh, who has also been instrumental in providing specialised education needs to students as the leader of the Special Education Needs Division.
Until recently, Frances Fannan was the Careers Guidance and Vocational Educational Coordinator at De La Salle College in Mangere East, working tirelessly to ensure students were offered practical career opportunities. Amanda Chapman has expanded a groundbreaking reading program that ensures students are competent in the literacy dimension of their education.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, women have played significant roles in the development and education of their communities. Here are a few examples of the amazing Lasallian Women in PNG, along with their achievements:
Elizabeth Aribi is a program officer at TI PNG and the former National Youth Secretary at CBC PNGSI. Her contributions have been significant in advancing the rights of women and youth in PNG.
Shirley Kaupa is the founder of Magna Carta PNG, Books for Market Kids, and the Deputy Chair of Jubilee Secondary Board of Governors. Her work has been crucial in promoting education and economic empowerment in PNG.
Joan Eoe ASFC is a retired teacher and the longest female lay associate of the De La Salle Brothers. Her educational contributions have been significant and will be remembered as a big part of her ongoing success.
Josephine Dromenge was the first and longest-serving Manager at WeCare Foundation for Women and Children at Risk. Her contributions to the organisation have made a significant impact in helping vulnerable women and children in the country.
Maureen Amoniu Waede founded Lasalle Wonder Kids Elementary in Vanimo, where she serves as an early childhood teacher. Her dedication to providing quality education to young children has been commendable.
Women have made remarkable contributions to the Lasallian education mission in Papua New Guinea. From serving as principals and deputy principals to founding schools and organisations, these women have paved the way for future generations of female leaders in the education sector.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, our Lasallian Ministries have been a pioneer in offering girls equal educational opportunities and professional development.
La Salle High School and College in Faisalabad's separate girls' section and inclusive approach to sports, talent hunts and academic competitions have helped break down gender barriers in education. The school also offers home economics and computer skills courses, providing girls with essential skills for their personal and professional lives.
Mrs Sariya Peter, Mrs Iqbal and Mrs Akhtar have all been Headmistress; these women have worked tirelessly to ensure the success and growth of the school. Ms Catherine Barnard is another exceptional woman who has devoted her life to transforming the lives of students, and it's not just academic success that these women contribute to; they also inspire and enhance various talents and abilities in students through activities such as arts and crafts, cooking, table management and sports.
We also celebrate Ms Yasmin, a notable personality who took the initiative to teach the school girl's band melodica, as well as many other women working tirelessly to make a positive impact on the future of our community. We would like to give a special shoutout to Ms Shumaila Babar, the first M.Phil teacher and primary head coordinator, who is massively contributing to the field of education.
Women within the Australian Sector are represented in various roles, from education, governance, finance, health and mission services.
Women in the District Administration team play crucial roles in office management, accounting, administration and communications support. Ann Corcoran, a longstanding Lasallian and an experienced member across schools, governance, and finance, is the Chair of the Economic Council. As District Healthcare Coordinator, Sr Antoinette Baldwin provides invaluable healthcare advice to the Brothers. Tracy Adams and Julie Alibrandi, two female members, support the work of the District Council by serving on the Safeguarding Committee.
Women also hold significant experience on the Board of Lasallian Mission Council. Jill Gowdie, the Deputy Chair and Bernadette Kay, a Board Director, offer their knowledge and expertise to the council.
The Finance and Risk Management Committee has 60% female representation, with the Sector Mission Councils featuring two female Chairpersons. Additionally, women are well represented across all levels of the Mission team, from executive leadership to Youth Ministers.
Six female Youth Ministers are placed at different locations, including St Michael's College and Southern Cross College. Half of the Lasallian Volunteers are female, further demonstrating women's essential role in the Lasallian Mission.
Lasallian Foundation Australia has a female Chairperson, a female Board Director, Ria Greene, and a female Project Officer, Joanne Nehme. Their extensive experience in governance and Lasallian school leadership is crucial to the boardroom table. yourtown, led by Tracy Adams, a longstanding Lasallian, is supported by a Board and Executive team of women.
Women play an integral part in the Lasallian Mission in Australia. Their representation and expertise across different roles and ministries highlight their importance in driving gender equity and promoting and maintaining the Lasallian charism in Australian schools.
These are just a few examples of the extraordinary women working across our District.
On International Women's Day, we celebrate and honour the contributions of all women in the Lasallian community and beyond who have accomplished so much in their respective fields.
Over 2000 Women throughout the District hold diverse and complex roles in all our Ministries, including:
Deans of Faith and Mission
Assistant Principals (Identity and Mission)
Assistant Principals – Wellbeing
Principal Secretaries Lasallian Animators Directors of Finance/Administration Leaders of Mission and Formation
And many more.
These remarkable women have broken down barriers, created opportunities for others, and inspired countless people.
We must continue to recognise and support women's achievements, ensuring they have the same opportunities as their male counterparts in all aspects of life. Together, we can create a more equitable and just world for everyone.
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