This Sunday the Lismore Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with NORPA Big Think host a regional high tea featuring actor Geena Davis in a live stream from the Sydney Opera House All About Women Festival. The Echo spoke to Regional High Tea hosts Jeni Caffin (NORPA Big Think) and Deborah Benhayon (LCCI).
What is the All About Women Festival and how is it relevant to women in our region?
Jeni: All About Women matters. It particularly matters now. The festival itself is in its fifth year as a flagship event at the Sydney Opera House and is a prelude to International Women’s Day on 8 March. It seeks to unite and inspire women in passionate conversation on diverse topics, this year shining a searchlight on the depiction of women in media, gender equality, the impact and prevalence of warring nations, perceived bias and actual violence against women and, of course, education.
Deborah: Opportunities that bring women together to ponder and have engaging discussions about what is affecting and moving in the world is never isolated to one area. These create great opportunities for local and global interactions.
What will Geena Davis be speaking about?
Jeni: Geena Davis will be addressing women and media, with particular attention given to the fact that TV and film culture STILL produces gender stereotypes, rather than portraying the kind of women girls conceivably might wish to become. She is the founder and chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is successfully influencing film and television content creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters – and reduce gender stereotyping – in media targeting children 11 and younger. She is an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is also the chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and is a member of Mensa. When she speaks, minds open. When she acts, change is possible.
What else will be happening at the Regional High Tea?
Deborah: Geena Davis’s address will be followed by a live panel discussion featuring prominent local business and arts professionals, chaired by Rhoda Roberts, actor, creative director, writer, producer and arts consultant, highly respected in the arts and general community Australiawide. She will be joined by Pam Brook, founder of Brook Farm, Sarah Karam, founder of the delectable Belle General, Lois Randall, screen producer and arts manager, and Donna Kildea of Summerland Credit Union. They will swap stories about the challenges faced by women in business, the special joys and obstacles that come from being regional rather than metropolitan, the importance of mentoring, that tricky work/life balance and the philosophies that drive and inspire them.
Why have you decided to host a regional high tea?
Deborah: The collaboration between the Lismore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, NORPA’s Big Think program and the Sydney Opera House’s All About Women flagship festival has created a unique and exciting opportunity for the community as a whole to come along, mingle, and be inspired with the many amazing women whose contributions across a diversity of professions, industries and businesses give the northern rivers its unique flavour. There are many women in our region doing their thing, whether that be a mum at home, a school teacher, student, bank executive, councillor, business professional etc. Hosting this regional high tea is about creating a space where collectively the community can come together, connect, appreciate and value both the big and little things about all of those who make our region so vibrant and what it is.
Regional High Tea at the Lismore Workers Club on Sunday from 10am till 1pm. Lismore Workers Club, 231 Keen St, Lismore. Tickets: $30. Bring your favourite tea cup.
Bookings and more info: www.lismorechamber.com or call Elise Taylor 0448 833 806.