For at least twelve years a small group of women have been celebrating IWD in our regional town. This year there were several different celebrations, and the long-standing dinner has grown to over 60 people, including mothers and teenage daughters. How wonderful to see awareness and participation increasing!
We met at the Waterfront Hotel on the Moruya River. Two Koori women gave us a traditional welcome to country, one speaking in the local language which she is learning as an adult, since her parents and grandparents were forbidden from speaking their own tongue by the authorities of the day. Thankfully many words were recorded and the Durga language is being revived now amongst young and old.
OM and others had invited Doctor Elizabeth Reid to speak to us. Dr Reid was Adviser on women and children to the Prime Minister of Australia (1973-75), has worked throughout the world as an advisor on development projects. She shared with us the topics of letters she received from women asking for help in the 1970’s …. such as the refusal of banks to lend to women, unequal pay, discrimination in favour of men, all things we older women were quite familiar with, and then she said with hindsight she sees that the religious idea of male headship had become secularised to the point where women could no longer function individually in society. Elizabeth challenged us to realise that these ideas are alive and well, with (for example) an encroachment being made on childcare provisions by our our current government, based on the notion that women’s place is in the home, subservient and submissive. It was a powerful message to remain aware and active in the struggle for freedom and women’s rights.
We have so many inspiring women in our small community! It was a feast of strong women last night, with two Shire councillors present as well. Some wore purple, the International Women’s Day colour.
Enjoy this slideshow of faces as women shared food and conversation after the talk.
Jo Bryant shared a beautiful song written for International Women’s Day … you will love it, so follow the link http://song.unwomen.org/ and buy this wonderful song to celebrate women. Ailsa is focussing on IWD too this week, so this post joins with Ailsa’s celebration of women.