Participants of the Women’s Empowerment Project in Peru taken by CCAIJO staff member.

International Women’s Day, held annually on 8 March, is a global day that recognises the resilience, strength, and achievements of women from diverse backgrounds and cultures across the world. Acknowledging this important day allows Mary MacKillop Today to reflect on the invaluable contributions of women within the communities we support and the persistent challenges they still face.

Just like Saint Mary MacKillop, we go where the need is greatest, and even today, we see that women around the world continue to face gender-based discrimination, violence and inequality. Women and girls need equal access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities to strengthen their ability to learn, earn and lead in their communities.

Inspired by a woman and guided by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Mary MacKillop Today continues to recognise that women are central to our story and the communities we serve. One of the core principles our projects demonstrate commitment to is ‘Women at the Heart’. Because we know from our experience that when women and girls are uplifted, their families and whole communities can flourish.

Through our work, we seek to promote the voice and participation of women in spaces where they have been typically excluded. We witness firsthand the transformative power of women and girls in their communities.

In Timor-Leste, we support a women’s livelihoods project that is giving women the power of financial independence. Through the BEHAFU Cooperative, we provide skills development workshops and business training in areas such as design, financial management and leadership.

Our First Nations Tertiary Scholarship program in Australia is working to address systemic barriers to education for people by providing financial support. We know that educated women lift families and communities out of poverty and our scholarships are helping to achieve equity in leadership for the First Nations women who are accessing them.

In Peru, our Enhancing Women’s Civil Participation in Rural Peru Project, which we run with our local partner CCAIJO, is building the skills and confidence of women leaders to participate fully in community decision making. As part of this project, female government representatives and civil society leaders attend training workshops on human rights, ethical leadership, and influencing public policy.

Working with our in-country partner Ola Fou Fiji, we fund Project Talitha in rural Fiji, helping young women become strong leaders in their communities. Women participate in training workshops where they learn important skills, like how to lead, earn an income, manage their money wisely, understand human rights, and take care of their health.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, we would love to invite you to our online ‘Women at the Heart’ webinar on 20 March at 3:30pm AEST where we will share stories about the work we do to promote the voice and participation of women and girls both here in Australia and overseas.

Please join us by registering at:

We are proud to continue the pioneering work of Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of Saint Joseph in transforming the lives of women and girls through learning for life so that all may flourish.

Thank you for supporting our work – you are making an enormous difference in the lives of so many people.

Mary MacKillop Today