COMMUNITY-MINDED: Miles' Rachel Kerwick was the 2015 Regional Citizen of the Year.
COMMUNITY-MINDED: Miles' Rachel Kerwick was the 2015 Regional Citizen of the Year. Jim Campbell

IWD 2019: It's all about balance for the better

TAKING the time to stop and listen to the words of Rachel Kerwick and Julie Gorring is to sit at the feet of wisdom.

The two are long-time active members of the Miles and Chinchilla communities and their reflections on the role of women in society as the region celebrates International Women's Day are steeped in experience.

Mrs Kerwick is a mother of five, a businesswoman and a tireless volunteer.

Through the years she's been involved with her children's sports and school P&C, her church, the Miles Chamber of Commerce and several local committees.

At the same time she's worked first in her parents' businesses and then on her own. So how does she do it? Excellent question.

"I've always grown up with a really strong family ethos, I suppose. It was instilled in us as children about the value of giving back to community, and I enjoy it,” Mrs Kerwick said.

As for Mrs Gorring, she's involved with the Chinchilla Hospital, the Catholic church, RSL Memorial Club, Chinchilla Rotary Club, the local LNP branch and the Callide State Electoral Council.

The theme of International Women's Day 2019 is Balance for Better, and both women had insights about what that meant in a small country town.

For Mrs Kerwick, she's noticed while women are going from strength to strength, men in the community seem to be "disappearing”.

"They're not taking active roles in the community like they used to,” she said.

"I'm not saying men have disappeared altogether, but there does seem to be an imbalance between what women are doing out in the community and what the men are doing, and I don't know why that is.”

Mrs Kerwick certainly knows a thing or two about balance. When it comes to personal life, she recalled the balancing act of caring for her five children when they were in school while she and her husband ran businesses.

"Sometimes it was like a pressure cooker,” she said.

The relief valve was a rule - when they got home they left work at the door until dinner was over.

As for Mrs Gorring, Balance for Better means making sure you have time for your family life, work life and some for yourself.

"To be successful, I think you have to be able to balance your commitments and keep an even keel so that you're not burning yourself out,” she said.

As for their advice to young women? The two had this to say.

Mrs Kerwick said she often told her daughters to not be afraid to get involved.

"If you've got a passion for something, really get your teeth into it and look for the people who can support you,” she said.

"Be part of your community.

"It doesn't matter where you live or what you're doing, get out there and just be part of your community and you'll be so amazed at the people you meet and the friendships you make.

"There could be another lady around there, she might be 40 years older than you, but you will just click and the value she will bring to your life, her opinions and her experiences.”

Mrs Gorring agreed, saying community involvement was incredibly rewarding.

"It's great to be involved in one way or another in the community.”