In Summary

Swinburne University of Technology hosted an International Women’s Day event at the Hawthorn Arts Centre this morning to acknowledge the university’s commitment to gender equality.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year and is a day that recognises acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The 2015 international theme ‘Make it Happen’ calls for greater equality and celebrates women’s achievements.

Today, three inspirational female leaders shared their personal stories of courage and determination.

Keynote speaker and former CEO of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark AC, said she had faced her own battles.

“Don’t be crippled by self-doubt,” she said. “Look at your dragons in the whites of their eyes.”

Dr Clark said she values people and culture and, in her experience, “culture wins over strategy every time.”

Ms Marli Lopez-Hope, wildlife filmmaker, photographer and Swinburne student spoke about her upbringing. Raised by her single mother to be independent and confident, Marli said she was always encouraged to go for her dreams.

“Life is not about being apprehensive; be courageous,” she said.

Deputy Director of Swinburne’s Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre, Professor Susan Rossell, grew up in a household that combined science and art.

As a leader, she said she was naturally perceptive of those around her but had to learn patience.

Her advice to young women and men is to be tenacious and brave. “Don’t be afraid to stand out. Learn patience; solve problems,” she said.

The event also paid tribute to 20 outstanding female staff and students who have made their mark at Swinburne in a photographic exhibition.

Learn more about Swinburne’s significant women.