A Place For You


Diversity…something that’s lacking, somewhat, in the front benches of Federal Parliament at present and yes, a pretty cheeky comment coming from the President of the Country Women’s Association!

However we’ve never claimed to be anything else.

And whilst we may not be very diverse in terms of gender, that’s where the bias stops.

Our members live in cities, towns and on farms. They are wives, mothers, professionals, grannies. They range in age from 4 months (yes months and she has lots to say!) to 100 plus. They are fifth generation Australian and first generation Australian refugees. Their interests range from International affairs to agriculture, social issues, baking, education, languages, politics, policy and knitting.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs we launched CWA Awareness Week in Sydney and I have had the privilege of spending time with some exceptional women who represent the diversity of our membership.

Gabrielle – the former member of the Australia Defence Force who has a Masters of Philosophy in Indonesia-Australia Political and Defence relations and can speak Indonesian, Chinese, Arabic and German

Annette – a …. year old powerhouse who is currently overseeing a 64,000 acre property in remote White Cliffs whilst her husband is away earning off farm income. In her spare time she manages software and disability product companies, looks after her sister in law and trains to be a volunteer ambulance officer.

Isabelle – a 21 year old university student from the Sydney’s inner western suburbs, who joined at the age of 17 and has won prestigious blue ribbons at the Sydney Royal Show for her baking prowess

You will also have seen blogs from other inspirational ladies like Debra, a professional Sydney based woman with a passion for enabling women to make good life choices through literacy and numeracy education; Tin, a Burmese senior lecturer in economics who, as a refugee herself, has a passion for caring for the land and human rights and is building schools and creating education paths for kids in her home country; and stay tuned for Barbara the vibrant member in her 70’s texting and tweeting faster than her friends can knit one, purl one!

This week has seen us embrace and promote the elements of the CWA that most people never hear about, because we haven’t mentioned them. Our members are normally quiet achievers, getting on with what needs to be done in their communities with little fuss and certainly no fanfare.

This week, however, we have been shouting (in a lady-like fashion, of course) about our efforts in raising and distributing funds for CHARITY, driving CHANGE and celebrating our DIVERSITY.

No matter your age, background, location or profession, the CWA has a place for you

p.s. Good luck Julie Bishop, if you get tired of all that testosterone…. www.cwaofnsw.org.au

CWA In the City, by Guest Blogger Debra Pinkerton

Sydney City Branch members enjoyed modelling authentic kaftans at a Moroccan-themed fundraising luncheon.

Sydney City Branch members enjoyed modelling authentic kaftans at a Moroccan-themed fundraising luncheon.

As we head into the inaugural CWA Awareness Week, our themes of DIVERSITY, CHARITY and CHANGE exemplify the driving force and enthusiasm of CWA of NSW.  There are many activities undertaken by the Association that often ‘go under the radar’ and this week is a time to promote the great work accomplished across this State.

As a professional urban woman living in Sydney I am proud to say I am a ‘city slicker’ member of the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales.

It may come as a surprise to many that 20% of the CWA membership live in the city.

Currently I am President of the Sydney City Evening Branch and the majority of our members are professional women aged in their 30’s or 40’s. Some have rural family heritage as daughters or granddaughters off the land while others were born and bred in the city and have no direct ties to rural NSW.

This DIVERSITY in our backgrounds is enriching as we share our different skills and experience.

Despite our city lifestyle, we are united by a desire to effect positive change within our local and state-wide community. The successes we achieve in driving this change are at the very centre of our pride in CWA.

While the tea and scones sold at the annual Royal Easter Show are a public emblem of CWA, the real business of our organisation is raising and distributing essential funds for medical research, supporting NSW families through scholarships, participating in humanitarian projects in Australia and internationally and lobbying government at all levels on issues as diverse as the environment, health, education and transport.

Our branch is part of Phillip Group which comprises 9 Sydney metropolitan branches plus Norfolk Island. The main focus for our fundraising is education. This year alone Phillip Group has distributed $26,000 in educational grants to applicants across NSW and another $13,500 through the Sylvia Osborne Scholarship for fashion and textile students.

This may be regarded as an act of CHARITY. However, these scholarships are a catalyst for progress.  With improved literacy and numeracy skills young people are empowered to shape their own destinies through informed decision making.

Sydney City Branch members share a conviction that the CWA of NSW is an effective and mobilised women’s organisation which advocates for urban and rural communities. We believe we can enable positive CHANGE.

I would encourage anyone who really wants to get involved in a grass-roots organisation that is making a positive impact for women and communities in Australia and overseas to join a CWA branch in their local area.

You Look… Different


Traditionally we are not good at “blowing our own trumpet”, bragging about our achievements or promoting what we do. Boasting was seen as “humbug”! What a great word, HUMBUG! Wonder where it came from….

One of the areas we are focusing on this week, CWA of NSW Awareness Week, is change. Changing the way we harness the technologies and opportunities available to us, to shake off the thinking that boasting is “humbug”.

Let’s promote our website, share the topics on our Facebook page and blog ‘till we drop!

Tweets and instagram exponents, um…..well, you do whatever it is you do and I’ll catch up soon.

As discussed before, change is about perception and whether you like it or not, our world is changing, fast. Opting in doesn’t mean forgoing our integrity, ideals or commitment to those we support, it just means achieving what we can with the tools provided to us at the time. Just as we have always done. Except now everyone will know, not just us.

If we want people’s perception of us to change, then we have to change how they perceive us.