Steph Cooke and Khawlah Albaf smile at the camera.
Steph Cooke and Khawlah Albaf.

Financial independence, more opportunities for rural and regional women and entrepreneurship are among the topics promoting gender equality during NSW Women’s Week, under the theme #ChooseToChallenge.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is encouraging the community to join her in embracing week’s educational opportunities and recognition of the achievements of women and girls.

“Women play a vital role in our communities and they deserve to be celebrated for their contribution,” Ms Cooke said.

“We have some fantastic local women being recognised this week, including Khawlah Albaf from Young who is a finalist in the new ‘One to Watch’ category of the NSW Women of the Year Awards.”

“But this week is also about acknowledging the unsung heroes who give their time as volunteers, committee members, active community members and every role under the sun to help our amazing communities thrive.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said that empowering women was crucial to building a safer, stronger NSW.

“There are still barriers women face, so we need to use this time to develop practical steps, foster resilience and spearhead change,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We want to empower women to make their own decisions, to move forward with confidence and know they can proactively create the future they want. Knowledge is power.”

The week starts with International Women’s Day on 8 March and the NSW Women of the Year Awards are announced on 10 March and for the first time includes two new categories.

‘The One to Watch Award’ recognises an outstanding girl aged 7 to 17, while the ‘NSW Woman of Excellence Award’ will go to a role model excelling in her field.

The NSW Government is committed to supporting women’s economic opportunity and advancement; health and wellbeing; and participation and empowerment.