‘When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in
the people who invest in everyone else.’
– Melinda Gates
When I returned home from my walk with Em across Tasmania, I received a wonderful email from a Mary Dwyer. She had found my blog through a mutual friend and she wanted to talk to me. I was honoured. I stalked her on her personal website and her professional one (Impact Solutions International). The more I learnt about her the less I could understand why she may want to be in touch with me. She came across as a beautiful, strong, intelligent and passionate woman working to build community and make transformational change. I was just a little fish in the sea, she clearly was not!
As it turned out, she was putting the finishing touches on her latest initiative, 100 Women2 – Women helping Women. It didn’t take long for her to have all my attention and then some, and not just because she’d worked with Graham when he’d first moved to Tassie. The intention behind 100 Women2 spoke to a lot of the things I believe in. It is an initiative designed to build community and help women’s voices be heard, to support the rise of women in communities and increase connection and to highlight and support issues that affect women as well as the organisations that work to support them. All the while improving fitness, having fun and making a difference that directly contributes to causes we are passionate about.
How would this work? 100 Women2 would motivate 100 women to walk 100kms. Each of them would commit to raising $1000 for an issue of their choice, that directly affects women. Collectively that would amount to over $100,000 raised as a community, for women’s issues. And then it would be repeated, hence 100 Women2.
‘When we invest in women, we invest in a powerful
source of global development.’
– Melinda Gates
I was in. As a privileged woman, it’s long been time to give back to those less fortunate. I love walking, and I’ve done a lot of it with awesome women. I could have walked for a number of organisations, causes or groups. But I chose one close to my heart, as a paramedic who is constantly reminded of the intersection between the social determinants of health, health literacy and health outcomes. I decided to walk for Women’s Health Tasmania, a statewide service run by women for women. Their vision is for women to be informed and active decision makers in their health and well being and understanding the broader impact of women’s health on society they notably support disadvantaged and minority groups. At the time of writing this another woman, Amy Currant, senior consultant at Impact Solutions International, is also walking for WHT, and so we find ourselves building community, just like that!
But walking is something I do quite easily. This initiative was set up specifically to be achievable for a range of women, and men too. So I decided to make it a bit harder for me. I wondered if I could walk 100km without stopping to sleep. Like an ultra. And then because I’m me, I figured that should be in the bush, because there’s a lot of research out there about the benefit of exercising in nature. Why not walk up a mountain I hadn’t yet explored? And so a plan started to materialise…
Mount Berry was the chosen destination. 50km along the Port Davey track and I would be at the foot of a 6km or so off-track ridge climb to the summit. While the Port Davey track is relatively flat and easy going, the walk would be challenging enough with the pure length of it and being alone in the bush with no-one to push me along when the dark hours grew long and my feet tired. Not to mention the shorter days of May and trying to time the summit for daylight hours. I started to feel that little ball of excitement and adventure growing within me.
It felt right. It would be hard but fun. It’s planned for the end of the month (May), weather permitting!
If you’d like to support my crazy little walk for Women’s Health Tasmania, the general community of women who want to make a difference, and the inspiring female leaders who come up with these initiatives, please consider donating here, reading more here and here, or even committing to walk for a cause of your own (it’s easy)! And for the gentlemen out there – you’re not excluded by any means. In Mary’s own words:
‘In order for us to advance as a safe more equitable
society women also need the support of really good men.’