The achievements of central Victorian women were celebrated a function in Bendigo on Tuesday.
About 250 people filled the conservatory at the All Seasons Hotel, where the Zonta Club of Bendigo and guests honoured International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day, on March 8, is an opportunity to recognise the achievements of women and puts gender parity on the global agenda.
Australia is ranked 46th of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index.
The World Economic Forum predicts it will be 169 years before the gender gap is entirely closed.
Bendigo Zonta president Jan Buckland said the club was supporting gender parity through encouraging women and girls to pursue education and recognising leadership in the community.
“Education is very important in enabling women to reach their full potential, and we support women in education with five scholarships,” she said.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College student Kelly Phan was awarded the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award, while East Loddon P-12 College student Sarah Maher won the Gwen Symons scholarship, which encourages girls to complete Year 11 and 12 studies.
Natasha Romas, Courtney Jury and Bree Mellberg were recipients of merit-based tertiary scholarships.
Kaye Graves became the recipient of the second annual Women of Achievement Award, with Katherine Legge and Margaret Keech recognised as shortlisted nominees.
The award celebrates the achievements and contributions of central Victorian women aged 55 and over.
Zonta is one of numerous community organisations in Bendigo hosting International Women’s Day events.