The 27th annual International Women’s Day Dinner and Selina Sutherland Award Presentation was held at Slices in Doreen on Monday, March 4.

Hosted by Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, the event brought together women from across the district to celebrate International Women’s Day and pay tribute to extraordinary local women.

Federal Member for Jagajaga, the Hon. Jenny Macklin MP was the guest speaker and gave a moving and powerful address, including insights into her career as a woman in federal politics for the last 22 years.

Mernda resident, Julie Tyers OAM was announced as the 2019 Selina Sutherland Award winner.

An Ophthalmic Nurse, Julie is the founder of the not-for-profit Eyes For Africa Charitable Foundation. Since 2007, Julie has led a group of volunteers to Ethiopia once or twice a year, usually for one month, to deliver free cataract surgery to men, women and children, who would otherwise have chance of regaining their sight.

To-date Eyes For Africa has restored sight to more than 3000 disadvantaged women, men and children living in remote areas.

The dinner and presentation night celebrated women from all walks of life, with many past award recipients in attendance including compere and last year’s awardee Australasia’s longest serving female police officer Joy Murphy, former City of Whittlesea councillor Pam McLeod, former Nillumbik Mayor Helen Coleman OAM, Boots For All founder Joanne Rockwell and former St Andrews CFA captain Helen Kenney OAM.

International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8 each year. Former Minister for Women’s Affairs and MP for Greensborough Sherryl Garbutt established the Diamond Valley dinner event in 1992.

In 2000, Ms Garbutt introduced the annual Diamond Valley Women of the Year Award in conjunction with the dinner. From 2003, Ms Green joined the event as co-host. Following Ms Garbutt’s retirement in 2006, the Annual Award was renamed the Selina Sutherland Award.

In a lovely quirk of fate, Ms Green’s electorate office is located in the house that was the original Girls Dormitory at the Sutherland Homes.

Comments attributable to 2019 Selina Sutherland Award winner Julie Tyers OAM:

“I’m very proud and honoured to be a recipient of Danielle Green’s International Women’s Day Selina Sutherland Award, showing that women are resilient and powerful, and can make their dreams come true.”

“I am very very excited that the electorate has recognised a member of the area who has achieved so much to help those in need in Ethiopia.”

Comments attributable to Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green:

“I was honoured to host this annual International Women’s Day dinner. Federal Member Jenny Macklin MP and Julie Tyers OAM both exemplify what driven, committed and generous women can achieve. These women give back to the community and they are role models for all women.”

“The 2019 Selina Sutherland Award recipient, Julie Tyers OAM was deservedly acknowledged for her contribution and for her determination and resilience. Julie is truly an inspiration to all those who meet her. Her extraordinary efforts in nursing, particularly through her foundation Eyes For Africa, will have major worldwide benefits long into the future.”