IWD21: It’s not just a ‘female conversation’

In the lead up to the International Women’s Day 2021 event, I sat down with our four inspirational panellists to discuss what this year’s theme “Choose to Challenge” really means to them.


When it comes to challenge, Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM is certainly no stranger.

At 25 years old, he was involved in a major car accident that left him as a quadriplegic, changing his life dramatically.

Despite his accident, Dinesh has never let his disability stop him from succeeding personally and professionally and has become even more passionate about ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, regardless of their circumstances. Dinesh has completed his medical degree, law degree as well as earning the title of 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year.

Behind the accomplishments, is an incredibly determined, humble, family-orientated man who says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the strong female figures in his life.


“One of my biggest influences is my Mum.”

“My Mum has taught me so much about the strength of motherhood. She has always 100% been there – especially after my accident – fighting for me and supporting me. I wouldn’t be who I am without her,” Dinesh says.

In addition to his Mum, Dinesh says he’s owed a lot to the strong female figures in his life, including his senior female colleagues within the medical profession.

“Some of my best mentors and biggest supports professionally have been my senior female colleagues,” he says.

“The main reason I’ve been able to progress my career despite my disability is that I’ve had women around me stand up and help me fight for my rights.”

When it comes to gender inequality and bias, Dinesh says it’s everyone’s responsibility to have the conversation – not just females – particularly on International Women’s Day.

“I’ve seen patients refuse to be treated by doctors just because they’re female. I’ve even seen patients refuse to believe a woman is a doctor just because she’s female!’


“It’s not just women who should be talking about equal rights, as men we have that responsibility too. We need to take it upon ourselves to choose to challenge to promote change.”

Join Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, along with Ashleigh DoRozario, Sandra Creamer and Zinta Harris, for our International Women’s Day 2021 event, in partnership with the Bar Association Queensland and Women’s Lawyers Association of Queensland. Our panellists will lead open and raw conversations about their personal and professional challenges they’ve faced and overcome. This event is now sold out, but you can purchase the recording of the evening here

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