#IWD2021 | Women of Influence, Keynote Speaker, Dr Ruth Knight

International Women’s Day (IWD), held every year on 8 March, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

As part of the celebrations, Women of Influence (a nonprofit organisation founded by ACPNS student, Georgia Lane which provides a forum for successful businesswomen to network, learn and connect), held a special event – and our very own Dr Ruth Knight was the keynote speaker!


Ruth focused on the IWD 2021 theme #ChoosetoChallenge by challenging attendees to choose whether they will be:

  • an advocate or campaigner
  • a conscious consumer
  • a leader and get actively involved, or
  • a giver or investor.

Ruth shared that she challenges social issues by buying from Social Enterprises and supporting charities that are challenging issues close to her heart. Find out more about the event (including how you too can challenge social issues by choosing to purchase from social enterprises) and watch this powerful affirmation that roused the audience from the get-go.

We thank Portia Large for her article in the Gold Coast Bulletin and her below interview with Ruth.

PL: How do you define “social change”?

RK: Improving individual, family and community wellbeing. Never being satisfied with the issues that make our communities unsafe, unhealthy or disempowered. Fighting against injustice, and changing the system and underlying conditions and circumstances that perpetuates it.

PL: What are the benefits of collective individualism to tackle social issues?

RK: When we decide to challenge an injustice, or create social change, powerful things can happen. We feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment that we can contribute to making the world a better place. On a community or even global scale, collectively we see people being more thoughtful consumers, advocates, campaigners, social entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

PL: Tell us about your career to date?

RK: After India I trained as a nurse and then spent over 30 years working in community health, implementing programs to support homeless youth, and looking for ways to tackle issues such as poor mental health, domestic violence and family conflict.

PL: Why was visiting the slums in India a pivotal moment for you?

RK: I visited when I was very unsure of myself, had low self-esteem and no career goals. I went just for the adventure and to experience another culture but what I received was a sense of purpose and belief I could do something valuable with my life. India showed me there was something to live for.

PL: How does giving to others boost health and wellbeing?

RK: Research shows giving is good for our mental and social health, even our physical health. Volunteering, donating and being generous toward others can boost the immune system and slow ageing. It can even make you more sexually attractive so that’s a good reason to be kind, donate and buy from ethical companies and social enterprises.

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