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This year for International Women's Day we asked women from our organisation a few questions about their work in the dementia space and why the day is important to them. Ita Buttrose AC OBE is a Dementia Australia Ambassador and has dedicated many years to dementia advocacy, including her time as National President of Alzheimer's Australia from 2011 to 2014. This is what Ita had to say.
Has What has been a personal highlight throughout your many years of dementia advocacy work?
There have been many highlights – one of the most memorable was marching on Parliament House Canberra in 2011 to launch our Fight Dementia campaign. I was then national president. It was an important turning point for Dementia (then Alzheimer’s) Australia’s advocacy as it established the urgent need for better medical investment in dementia research. Marchers included people with dementia, their family carers and health professionals. We marched up to the entrance of Parliament House chanting “What do we want? More money for dementia. When do we want it? Now.” Our Fight Dementia campaign resulted in a commitment from the Federal Government of almost $470 million for dementia programs and research.
I have also been humbled by people with dementia who have told me that something I’ve said has resulted in them realising that a person with dementia can still live a good life and make a contribution to a better understanding to the effects of dementia. They agree with me that “a person with dementia is still a person”.
What is your advice to other women looking to make a difference in this field?
Volunteer and make a difference to the life of someone with dementia. It is good to have outside interests. They make you grow as a person and enrich your life.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
It is a day when we celebrate the achievements of women and recognise the incredible contribution they make in the workplace, the community and in the home.
To read our other International Women's Day profiles click below: