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February 8, 2023

International Women’s Day: Jacynta Savo

I am a Gooreng Gooreng, Yidinji woman who is passionate about supporting positive change in the Indigenous Health and Community Services. I am a mother of five and work full time as a Director in Primary Health Care whilst studying a Bachelor of Social Work through NIKERI at Deakin University. The pillars of my practice are based upon Cultural Safety, Equity, Equality, Empowerment, Self-Determination and a Human Rights model. My practice entails strong advocacy for a participatory community service model in which I promote a grass-root level approach in improving health outcomes for communities.

Preferred pronouns: Her/She 

Tell us about what International Women’s Day means to you? 

Being a female in current society where women still experience inequalities due to their gender, International Women’s Day means a lot to me. The discrepancies women face due to discriminative judgement on their ability to perform duties and roles that are normally dominated by our male counterparts is slowly dissolving due to the progressiveness and courage women have shown over time campaigning for women’s rights. The story should never be forgotten, women for years have been and continue to fight and challenge social norms and injustices, so women have the same opportunities afforded to them that men have. This social movement now a legacy that continues to pave the way for a society where gender equality yearns to exist is the foundation for women rights. I am honoured to come after our courageous and resilient cohort of women to contribute to the women rights movement by advocating for equal rights for women and nurturing and empowering the younger generation.  

In your time at Deakin, what has been your proudest achievement? 

My proudest achievement at Deakin is the experience, through my Bachelor of Social Work I have grown both personally and professionally. I have gained the confidence to speak in a room full of people and say the words that need to be said, I have located the courage that I didn’t believe existed. Deakin has aided me in developing my identity as a strong Aboriginal woman who is not afraid to challenge the discourse that perpetuates discrimination and systemic racism for Indigenous people. However the most rewarding milestone at Deakin is being a role model to my five children and to my networks, demonstrating that being a mother and school leaver doesn’t impede your ability to achieve your dreams instead is your motivation to work harder.  

We know discrimination still exists, what are some of the barriers you think that women are facing today that need more attention?  

I believe that there is still a stigma on working mothers. Women shouldn’t be disadvantaged because they are mothers instead they should be embraced by organisations with access to flexible working arrangements. There is also discrimination for women who wish to enter male dominated professions in which their needs to be improved governance around endorsing organisation policy that promotes gender equality. 

How do you feel Deakin supports women? 

NIKERI at Deakin has been phenomenal in supporting women by offering the flexibility mothers require to proactively participate in their studies. Women bring so many strengths to the narratives of a learning environment and I feel Deakin recognises this by promoting and empowering the participation of women. I believe Deakin provides a learning institution that places value on the diversity of a feminist standpoint and encourages women to nurture explore their perspective throughout their learning journey.  

What are some of the ways someone can help drive a gender equal future?  

To drive real change in gender equality we need to continue as a society to have the conversation around what gender equality is and what are the current challenges that continue to prohibit women from advancing towards their aspirations. We need to ensure workplaces provide a safe environment for all genders to feel comfortable, workplace policy on gender equality at all organisations so that the standards of gender safety is congruent throughout the industry.   

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