by Sam Flanagan
LET'S talk about nurturing mothers, hard-working nurses, passionate teachers, fearless leaders and incredible athletes.
No matter your demographic, women play a pivotal role in the lives of many.
International Women's Day was celebrated yesterday, with the Dalby Leagues Club flooded with women of all ages who have impacted the lives of many in town and beyond.
This year's theme is 'Press for Progress', as women all over the globe strive to achieve gender parity.
Special guest speaker at the annual Zonta breakfast, Marayke Jonkers, winner of three Paralympic swimming medals and Australia's first paratriathlete, addressed the room on the importance of goal setting, motivation and keeping a balance in life.
Ms Jonkers didn't win a Paralympic gold medal, but emphasised this doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things, as women should be striving to create and maintain a gold-medal life.
Since retiring from the pool, she has been running her charity, Sporting Dreams, which assists the next generation of Queensland athletes with disabilities in achieving their goals.
Ms Jonkers said she was honoured to speak in Dalby on such a special occasion.
"I was invited by a number of different towns to present today, but I chose Dalby because I've driven through the area before and the people have been so warm and welcoming. There is a great sense of community,” she said.
"It's (International Women's Day) about celebrating the achievements of women and what we can do for equality for everyone. It's about how we can all be better and support each other; celebrate our achievements and make improvements.
"I hope the main message the women took away today was to think like a child; not to be held back by preconceived ideas about what you can and can't do because of your gender or ability. We can all live much better lives if we empower others to do this.”
Zonta Dalby club president Linda Marsh was adamant the women in the room would have left with a new-found sense of inspiration.
"Marayke's analogies were a fantastic way to inspire women to set the goals they desire, aim their highest and be happy with the best they can be,” Ms Marsh said.