ADVOCACY group Women in Gippsland will host the Ride Like a Girl event this Sunday.
Ride Like A Girl is an event held across Victoria with the aim of empowering women while achieving cycling goals.
“The event is all about encouraging women to become involved in cycling and the empowerment that comes from riding”, founding Women in Gippsland member Kelly Koochew told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
“We want all the women, all of the girls, daughters, grandmas, everyone getting on their bikes,” group committee member Sallie Jones added.
“Even if women can’t ride but would love to be involved, we want them to attend.
“We want to see groups of women supporting, cheering other women on riding.
“They can be along the path from Warragul to Drouin.”
Formerly known as Gippsland Women in Business, Women in Gippsland was created by Kelly Koochew, Sallie Jones, Laura Carson and Erika McInerney and relaunched late last year.
The group has aims to educate, inspire and connect local women from different walks of life.
“We saw that there was a need within the community for a group of like-minded women wanting to make a difference”, Ms Koochew said.
As part of their platform, Women in Gippsland is supporting the White Ribbon Foundation and Make the Link, an initiative of Women Gippsland Health.
“When we made the announcement that we were supporting White Ribbon, we had women come forward and say I’m a victim and haven’t told anyone,” Sallie Jones said.
“These women said ‘the fact that you girls are putting the issue out there and making this issue an ok thing to talk about makes all the difference.’”
“Gippsland, statistically, has [one of highest] rates of violence against women in Victoria,” Laura Carson said.
Last week the founding members of Women in Gippsland met former Governor General Quentin Bryce at the Women in Agriculture luncheon.
Sallie Jones and Kelly Koochew said their interaction with the former Governor General was a memorable one.
“She asked me a question, she said hello, what do you do with yourself? I was a bit flabbergasted,” Ms Jones said.
“I just looked at her and thought where do I start?”
“When we were taking the photo, [Quentin Bryce] knew exactly what was going on and was very happy to be associated with Women in Gippsland,” Ms Koochew said.
“I think our group is definitely up her alley, she really connects with women from rural communities and spoke with real passion about regional, country Victoria.”
Throughout this year, Women in Gippsland will be supporting the White Ribbon Foundation by hosting a series of events, the first of which will be Ride like a Girl.
Future events the Women in Gippsland group will host include a food security panel at the Gippsland Arts Centre, which will feature a host of panellists who will discuss access of local, sustainable food and supporting farmers.
Women in Gippsland is also organising a mentor program for businesses and an expo at the end of this year.
“During the expo at the end of this year, members of our group will elect which cause they are interested in us supporting [into the future],” Ms Carson said.
“We will also conclude our White Ribbon campaign and launch into what we are going to do next.”
“It’s up to the community to determine what they want,” Ms Jones said.
Ride Like a Girl Gippsland will begin at 10am in Western Park in Warragul, and end at Drouin’s Civic Park.