A history of women championing justice and following Jesus.

As we mark International Women's Day 2024, Abbey Sim charts a history of women forming community, championing justice and following Jesus.

As we mark International Women's Day 2024, Abbey Sim charts a history of women forming community, championing justice and following Jesus. 


On March 8, 1917, female textile workers rallied in Petrograd, Russia, for peace, food security and an end to the czarist regime in their country. Within the week, women were granted the right to vote. The early development of International Women’s Day is closely connected to these demonstrations. They showcase the power of ordinary people in coming together to bring about change, justice, equality and inclusion.

On March 8, 1919, my great-grandmother, Jean Kingston, was born on Yuin Country in the NSW town of Candelo. With no local high school, she repeated Year 6 three times to continue her schooling until she was old enough to be employed. Nanna Jean’s faith in God sustained her throughout her life, ultimately introducing me to the Methodist, and later Uniting, church traditions where I, too, have developed my discipleship.

On March 8, 2020, I attended the Melbourne Cricket Ground amongst a crowd of 86,174 spectators for the final of the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup between Australia and India. Over recent decades, the growth of women’s sport has resulted in increased visibility for female athletes and more opportunities for girls to get active. This culminated in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, played in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

During Prayers for the People offered by my congregation at Leichhardt Uniting Church, parishioners expressed their thanks and prayers for the Matildas. Not for one team or the other to win, but because they were grateful for the displays of community and inclusion which were integral to the tournament, especially for women of colour and people from migrant backgrounds. For women passionate about sport, justice and even theology, the experience is sadly often not inclusion, but isolation. Thankfully, this is changing, but it relies upon all of us to continue inspiring young girls to exercise their beautiful bodies and minds to express the gifts God has blessed them with – especially for those who colour outside the lines of what our culture deems to be feminine.

On March 8, 2021, plans were afoot for the Women’s March for Justice. The following week, 110,000 Australians rallied to express their horror at the allegations of sexual violence within Parliament House and to call for women across the world to be able to experience physical, emotional and spiritual safety within their homes, workplaces and the public sphere.

On March 8, 2024, we will once again mark International Women’s Day. Three years have passed since the March for Justice, 107 years since Russian textile workers protested the economic injustice they experienced, and thousands of years since the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians that there is no male and female, as all are one in Christ Jesus.

To inspire the inclusion of women requires listening to and platforming the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, Pasifika women, women seeking asylum, and women with disability. It requires our churches to be informed by the deep love and wisdom of mothers as well as childfree women, women who have experienced infertility as well as single women; for churches to be spaces of refuge and safety where women who have experienced domestic violence are listened to and supported in seeking safety, justice and healing.

In so doing, we walk in the footsteps of our compassionate Saviour, Jesus, who spoke with women (Matthew 9:22), was financed by women (Luke 8:3) and facilitated the first preaching of his resurrection to be uttered by the faithful women (Matthew 28:10), who stayed with their Messiah to the cross, the tomb and beyond.




God of abundant love,

Help us this International Women’s Day to inspire inclusion, to foster safety and respect within our churches, which upholds the dignity of women and affirms their gifts.


Abbey Sim works as Common Grace's Data and Donor Projects Officer, a role which involves offering support to the team with managing data, engaging with donors, and communications.  Abbey completed a Bachelor of Communications and Law (with Honours in Creative Writing) in 2023 and is currently studying theology at United Theological College. Abbey lives on Dharug Country in western Sydney. Having previously worked in sports development and administration, she enjoys watching cricket, knitting, and spending time in the presence of animals. 

Domestic & Family Violence