International Women’s Day event and march 2016

On Saturday 12th March 2016, I was asked to emcee the International Women’s Day event and march where over 800 people turned up to show their support for equality and no violence against women, which was arranged by the NSW workers union.

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To begin the event we had a fabulous flash mob dancing which everyone enjoyed, as it set the positive tone for the event.

Yvonne Weldon then opened the event with a welcome to country, followed by Jenna Price, a renowned journalist and academic who with many other hard working women, works on Destroy the Joint, which is an online feminist action group. Destroy the joint started counting dead women as a way to honour women killed; and in a way to concentrate our minds on this national tragedy.

Liza Maza was the next speaker who is a prominent figure in the international community for her support and contribution to the struggles and plights of women all over the world. Liza visited us from the Philippines where she is a member of the Gabriella Women’s Party who also represented the House of Representatives. From Parliament to the streets, Liza has advanced the Fillipino women’s fight for economy, political and social rights.

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Lastly we had Sharon McKinnon, a refuge worker in the Western suburbs of Sydney for the last 30 years, who was most recently the manager of Jessie Street Women’s refuge. Sharon is an active member of the NSW Coalition for Women’s Refuges.

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After hearing these courageous women speak about the challenges we face as women, we marched together, united as women, down Macquarie Street finishing at Parpeian Way where we all gathered together and celebrated International Women’s Day together.

 

Q and A with Yassmin Abdel-Magied

On Saturday 5th March 2016, I was given the honour to emcee an International Women’s Day event with the launch of Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s book, “Who do you think I am?” at Westfield Burwood.

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ABOUT YASSMIN ABDEL-MAGIED

Yassmin was born in the Sudan, and her parents moved to Brisbane when she was two and has been tackling barriers ever since. At 16 she founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation focused on helping young people to work for positive change, in their communities. In 2007 she was named Young Australian Muslim of the Year and in 2010 Young Queenslander of the Year. In 2011 Yassmin graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and in 2012 she was named Young Leader of the Year in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards.  Yassmin has now been awarded Youth of the Year in the Australian Muslim Achievement Awards. And Penguin Random House is contributing royalties of her book, “Who do you think I am?” to Youth Without Borders.

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During my discussion I was able to record some of Yassmin’s replies to my questions below.

Joy: Your book launched just five days ago, what inspired you to write this book?

Yassmin: I generally wanted to write a story I wished was out there. When I grew up, there were no stories out there about Muslim women, no one I could identify with. I had a chat with my mum and told me to tell our story. My mentors are my parents – Mum and Dad.

Joy: When you write, do you pretend you’re writing to one person or a group of people?

Yassmin: One. I started out writing like a diary. It was like a place where I vented. (crowd laughs)

Joy: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Yassmin: First I think, why do we need just one day? Why can’t it be everyday? Then I think it’s a good time to recognise and highlight important issues involving women, putting it out on the table for the world to see. It’s an empowering day for women. A day to discuss equal parity and gender equality.

Joy: How do you hope you can be an inspirational Australian woman in today’s fast-paced world of social media, changing perceptions and ideas?

Yassmin: Because there’s such a wide reach thanks to social media and the net, I hope people can look at what I do and say, “If she can do it, so can I!”

Joy: What advice would you give your younger self?

Yassmin: Don’t be in such a rush and just have patience. When I was younger I would be at full speed, and when mum asked me why was I in a rush, I’d reply, “I could die next week!” (crowd laughs)

Joy: You have received many accolades for your community work, is there one award that stands out for you?

Yassmin: Yes I once took up roller blading and I won a good VIBE award! (crowd laughs)

Audience question by Nicole: What would your advice be for more diversity in the media?

Yassmin: Take on jobs in the media and be engaging and connected with people in the media. Get sponsored by someone or be taken under the wing of someone who is established in the media and learn from them.

It was such a pleasure to interview such a humble yet inspiring woman like Yassmin. I wish her all the best. Yassmin’s story, “Who do you think I am?” is out now at all good book stores. EnJOY!

 

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