This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, Breaking Down Prejudice, particularly resonates with Ms. Bill because of a personal experience in her youth.
While she grew up in a loving family, her parents’ relationship consisted of very traditional roles. “My mother had given up paid work as soon as she became pregnant with me and never worked for pay again while my father supported us financially.
“When I was 14, my mum told me that she and my dad could only afford to pay for my brother to go to college because he needed to have a good career to support himself. to the needs of his future family. She added that I would not need a career because my future husband would support our family financially.
“I never thought about college until I was in my early thirties. My husband and I moved to Queensland with our three young sons and didn’t know what to do with my life here. I was helping in classes at my son’s school when one day their teacher suggested I enroll in college. Suddenly I felt really excited and motivated to do this for myself.
“After studying for almost 6 years, part-time due to my other commitments, I graduated with a Dean’s Commendation. It was such a proud and exciting moment.
“Going to university in your thirties was proof that it’s never too late to change your life. I was a good role model for our sons as was their father as they watched as he fully supported me in my studies, helped me with household chores and we raised our sons together.
“#BreakTheBias calls on all of us to stand up for an equal world; a world free from prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. Together we can break down stigma in our families, communities, workplaces, schools, colleges and universities.
A void to fill
Since opening Mossman Port Douglas counseling services in February 2021, Ms Bill has identified the need for a women’s support group, a gap that needs to be filled.
“Women in Douglas County are more isolated than women in other areas and there isn’t much to offer here, especially not for free. It made sense for me to start a women’s support group to give women in the County a safe place to go once a month for support and connection.
Brandi Duggan is one of the women who has participated in the group on several occasions. She thinks the women’s support group is a wonderful concept. “It provides a safe place for women in our community to talk about a wide range of topics related to life’s challenges,” she said.
“Confidentiality is respected and ‘what is said in the group stays in the group’. Everyone can find life overwhelming at times and sharing their concerns with others who support us makes all the difference.
Ms Bill said she had no intention of charging women for this group. She is happy to provide the service free of charge for the community, with gratitude.
“I want to give back to my community. I received free support at crucial times in my life and was very grateful. Offering this free service is my way of paying it forward. I want to offer my skills and experiences in this way because I am truly passionate about my role in the helping profession.
“Eventually, I hope to invite guest speakers from various backgrounds to present on certain topics of interest. I don’t claim to know everything, nor do I have all the answers. So I plan to connect with other service providers and ask them to bring in a female member of staff to give a brief presentation.
“Sessions are currently offered for one hour, however, for International Women’s Day this month I am offering a ninety minute session. If this group grows and one hour isn’t enough, I’m happy to provide ninety minutes for future sessions. »
Ms Bill said the support group is still on a trial basis and will be reviewed after 6 months. “I appreciate feedback from all the women in the Shire as to what day or time would be suitable so that I can make an informed decision in June when the exam comes.”
Reservations for the support group are essential. You can call Jenny Bill on 0427 807 729 to reserve your place or email jenny.billmpdcs.comau