A social enterprise working to empower women had a powerful message to send ahead of International Women's Day.
SisterWorks supporters gathered in the initiative's Bendigo premises on Friday for a shared lunch.
In doing so, they showed their strength, their compassion, their sense of community and their generosity.
Some of the event's attendees were "sisters" - women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who were engaged in training and work through SisterWorks.
The organisation's staff and volunteers were also among the attendees at the event, as well as Bendigo mayor Jennifer Alden and Greater Bendigo Gender Equity Coalition chair Sue Clarke.
SisterWorks is relatively new to Bendigo, but has grown from a handful of participants to about 70 women within two years.
The Bendigo hub seems set to keep growing as it takes on more of the organisation's production work.
A new contract is providing work for Bendigo's sisters, who have been turning out hundreds of heat packs for Pilbeam.
Demand for reusable face masks kept sisters in work for a significant portion of last year, particularly whenever COVID-19 restrictions meant masks were mandatory in most settings.
The International Women's Day gathering was a celebration, not just of the day, but of where the women involved in SisterWorks had come from, of who they were, and of they challenges they had overcome.
Ginny Tan, one of the Bendigo hub's leaders, recognised the importance of the contributions each of the women made to the lives of others.
"All these women are leaders," Ms Tan said.
"I think sometimes that is forgotten."
More news: Meet this year's Woman of Achievement
Fellow Bendigo hub leader Leah Sigley saw International Women's Day as an opportunity to advocate for women and their rights.
"There is so much diversity and we need to recognise that," Ms Sigley said.
Ifrin Fittock, the head of social enterprise at SisterWorks, said it had been important for Bendigo's sisters to have opportunities for paid employment.
In its early days, the Bendigo hub was mostly used for training. Ms Fittock said it was important women had avenues to put their skills to use.
She saw opportunities to expand SisterWorks' work in the region.
March 8 is International Women's Day.
How you can access our trusted content:
- Bookmark bendigoadvertiser.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter @BgoAddy
- Follow us on Instagram @bendigoadvertiser
- Follow us on Google News