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The United Nations Information Centre Canberra, the International Organization for Migration and the Goulburn Multicultural Centre came together on Friday, 9 March to celebrate International Women’s Day which consisted of a Zumba class, presentations followed by a light lunch and refreshments.
IOM opened the presentations with a short video and explanation on International Women’s Day and the Together Campaign.
The theme this year was “Time Is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives” which was a perfect fit for Canberra based Multicultural Community Activist Ms Diana Abdel-Rahman OAM, the keynote speaker whose address was appreciated by the many rural migrant women of Goulburn attending.
Video message by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General,
on the occasion of International Women’s day 2018.
In her message for International Women’s Day on 8 March, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlights the importance of starting change in the home in order to “construct a different world of work for women”
On March 1, in the lead up to International Women’s Day, the United Nations Information Centre Canberra, International Organization for Migration, the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum and the Canberra Multicultural Women Forum held a community event to promote the ‘Together, Safety and Dignity for All Initiative’ . It was also an opportunity to promote the recent establishment of the Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum (the Women’s Forum).
Opening the event the Chair of the Women’s Forum, Ms Laura Aoun noted that many of the people in the audience were living proof that those from migrant and refugee backgrounds have enriched Canberra and Australia more broadly in ‘more ways than we realize’.
The Director of the UNIC Canberra, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe, noted the similarities between the Women’s forum – which bases it work on equal participation of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – and the UN’s Together Initiative – which seeks to promote the importance of such work. In closing he invited everyone to celebrate women, rejoice in diversity and to come together.
Chief of Mission for IOM, Mr Jo Appiah, in his speech said that “on International Women’s Day the International Organization for Migration (IOM) embraces the official United Nations theme, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030, by honoring migrant women and girls and called for us all to take a moment to recognize not just their specific contributions but also their challenges”.
Inter-dispersed between speeches the over one hundred strong audience was privy to two fine performances – firstly by the local ACT Chinese Australian Association Ladies Dance Group followed by the pace of some very colorful Colombians.
The keynote speech of the night was given by Her Excellency the High Commissioner of Pakistan, Naela Chohan during which she said that “today there is a growing number of women in conflict situation compelled to become refugees and migrants. It is indeed among the most urgent humanitarian challenges of our times. Much of this displacement has neither been voluntary nor orderly. People particularly women and children have been fleeing from desperate conditions of conflict, war or poverty. These helpless women and children on the move, deserve compassion and humane treatment”.
There is a tendency to downplay gender-based crimes of violence against women and minimize the grave consequences caused to women around the world, a group of United Nations human rights experts* has warned today. Continue reading
On the 9th of March, the country town of Cowra celebrated International Women’s Day by learning about the experiences of refugee women around the world and rural women in the South Pacific. Continue reading