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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:48 AM
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Sisters helping others marks International Women's Day
March 08, 2009 12:00am

TODAY is International Women's Day and many focus on the ongoing fight for paid maternity leave and an end to violence against women.

But it is also a day to celebrate the achievements and progress women have attained.

Queensland has a long history of incredible women - from Governor General Quentin Bryce, to former Olympian Cathy Freeman, the state's first female premier, Anna Bligh, fashion designers Sass and Bide, Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Merle Thornton, who chained herself to the bar at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane to liberate public bars from being men-only.

But in the shadow of their sisters in the spotlight are plenty of Queensland women who every day go to inspirational lengths to improve the lives of others.

These are just some of them:

BRISBANE physiotherapist Angie Herde, 54, insists she is no Mother Theresa but her actions speak far louder than her words.

She was compelled to act after watching news reports on the devastating 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami.

"I got home from work and this tsunami was on TV and I said to my husband I should be up there doing something useful, not just treating someone with a sore neck after two many hands of mah-jongg," Mrs Herde said.

She began researching ways to help others and stumbled across a small surgical hospital in Cambodia where she stayed for 18 months before moving on to East Timor and Indonesia.

This year she will head to India to work in a rehabilitation centre.

The greatest reward, she says, is never financial.

"Because we operate and work without charging - a coconut as thanks means more than getting a pay cheque."

MOTHER-of-three Dr Katrina Lines is equally as impressive.

She helps change the lives of abused children as executive programs manager of Act for Kids, working with families identified as high risk by the Department of Child Safety.

It is a tough job but Dr Lines says it can have a huge impact.

"For some families it means they can stay together, for others it means that their lives are turned around," she said.

"Where they may not have had school shoes and uniforms or gone to school regularly, they now go to school, they have health issues addressed. Their parents learn to be very different parents and deal with their drug and alcohol problems.

"It means that kids can have fun, kid experiences rather than traumatic experiences."

AS A young indigenous woman growing up in Gladstone, Llewellyn Williams always knew she was going to be successful at something.

She thought tourism sounded good. When she began working in the field of training, however, her tourism dreams took a dramatic turn.

Ms Williams, who lives in Redcliffe, quit her job and set up her own business, Pure Potential Enterprises, helping to inspire indigenous women.

A year later, the 31-year-old has travelled to dozens of remote centres and boosted the futures of hundreds of indigenous women.

But, she said, the ultimate would be to see one of her charges one day leading the country.

"I found my passion in seeing people changing and being more confident within themselves," she said.

"I enjoy seeing a sparkle in their eye and a fire in their belly."

CHILD psychologist Paula Barrett says the key to being a successful woman is resilience.

"It's about falling over and getting up again and again," she said.

Ms Barrett, 46, has earned international recognition for developing intervention strategies for childhood and adolescent anxiety.

Her Friends for Life prevention program, created in the early 1990s, is used in schools and clinics in 15 different countries and in November she was named Telstra Businesses Woman of the Year.

"When you look at people who have succeeded it always looks very easy, as though things just happen for them. But they don't," Ms Barrett, who lives in Toowong in inner-Brisbane, said.

"Life has ups and downs. My advice is to stick with what you're passionate about.

"A lot of people will try to knock you down, but persevere."

KIRSTEN Phillips was seven years old when she joined the Metropolitan Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club as a Nipper in 1983, just two years after women were first allowed to join the organisation.

Almost 20 years later she became the club's first female captain, a position she held for five terms, until last year.

Today Mrs Phillips, 32, is the club's secretary as well as the Sunshine Coast SLSC director for youth and membership, and the SLSC regional deputy director.

"When I was a Nipper, there were women in their 20s who were among the first to join surf lifesaving clubs and I really looked up to them.

"They were real trailblazers.

"But things have really changed now and woman play such an important role in surf lifesaving."

Mrs Phillips was named Queensland Surf Lifesaver of the Year in 2006 and was humbled by the number of women who said she was an inspiration.

Her work with SLSC is all volunteer and in addition to her career as a communications officer for the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.

ROSLYN Frost is another of the unsung heroes of Australia's volunteer movement.

The 68-year says being a driver, shopper and sounding board for the elderly is one of the best boredom-breakers on offer.

"Some of the people I drive get into the car and just don't stop talking," said the mother of three and grandma of six.

"They definitely get a lot out of seeing me. Sometimes I take people who have partners in nursing homes. I shop for a lady in a retirement village who is in her 80s."

For the past 11 years, since retiring from a 25-year nursing career, Ms Frost has been a volunteer for Brisbane's Northside Bluecare.

The tireless volunteer says she's been inspired by Australia's pioneering women, including her own relatives who settled in the rugged terrain of far north Queensland in the early 1900s.

"Those women who migrated from the UK and the conditions they had to live under and bring up children and the distances they had to travel - they are the women who have inspired me.",23739,251535...
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:58 AM
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1. One Woman -- can really do a lot. more power to us
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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:58 PM
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2. Many women have done good but not recognized
many people just care about queen, princess and divas
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