103-year-old encourages more camaraderie this International Women’s Day

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Patricia, 103, was a primary school teacher in Adelaide for almost 20 years. [Source: Supplied]

World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, Gloria Steinem, reportedly once said: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”  

The theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 is Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. While important progress has been made, women face significant obstacles to achieving equal participation in the economy. 

On March 8, 1908, women workers in the needle trades marched through New York City’s Lower East Side to protest child labour, sweatshop working conditions, and demand women’s suffrage.

Beginning in 1910, March 8 became annually observed as IWD. 

Patricia was only a little girl at this point, however, International Women’s Day has grown in prominence and reach, touching women in every corner of the world regardless of age and social barriers.

Nestled in her city fringe ECH vertical village, surrounded by female friends over 90, at 103 years young, Patricia relishes the camaraderie that comes with looking out for one another.  

She said, “When I first moved into the Towers, the lady on the top floor paid $500 for her unit. I paid $15,000. They were mostly single women living here.”

Born in Sydney, Patricia moved to Adelaide for work in 1945 and spent 20 years working as a primary school teacher before dedicating her time volunteering at many different places in retirement. 

Patricia now talks about her passion for the war on waste, listening to the traditional landowners, getting back to basics, reducing excess, buying to last and caring for each other.

Drawing parallels with past plagues, she painted a vivid picture of a world rediscovering the profound need for human connection and care. 

“I worry about the world’s excesses. In my earlier years, we had no bus or postal delivery service, we would walk or ride a bike on the road (as there were no footpaths). 

Patricia’s advice, delivered with a twinkle in her eye is to prioritise others, cherish the ordinary and keep looking up. 

The growing international women’s movement has helped make International Women’s Day a central point for action, to build support for women’s rights and their full participation in the economy, politics, community and in everyday life. 

For more information of IWD,  visit unwomen.org.au or iwd.net.au.

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  1. I am very impressed by Patricia’s account. Such good and lasting advice. Yes, we need to celebrate women – we are half of the population anyway!


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