UN International Women’s Day 2015

The Hon Jillian Skinner MP NSW Minister for Health
The Hon Jillian Skinner MP
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

UN International Women’s Day Seminar – CEDAW 2015 March 8 was celebrated for the 5th year in State Parliament House Sydney on Monday 9th March this year with our Parliamentary sponsorMinister for Health The Hon Jillian Skinner MP opening the Seminar  immediately after Acknowledgement to Country by Indigenous speaker Robyn Carroll from Mulla Walla Family & Community Support at Woolloomooloo.

 

Robyn Carrol
Robyn Carrol
Pam Lemoine
Pam Lemoine
Valerie Weeks
Valerie Weeks

Pamela Lemoine UNAANSW member read out the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to UNIWDay. Valerie Weeks, Co-Convenor of UNIWD and past President of co-sponsor of the event UNAANSW spoke on the History of Women in Australia.

Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio
Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio

Sue Conde past President of UN Women Australia was to speak on the topic CEDAW Convention for Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Committee for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women which was set up to monitor the progress of the Convention; but unfortunately had to attend a funeral so sent her paper which I spoke to as I was speaking about my experience with attending as one of 22 community representative the UN Conference/Forum for Women Peace and Development in Copenhagen in 1980 when CEDAW was launched to the world and Australia had signed the Convention during the Frasier government.

Jillian Skinner MP -  NSW Minister for Health
Jillian Skinner MP

The same number of women government representatives had also been chosen by the Minister for Home and Women Affairs The Hon Bob Ellicott. Decades later we still  have a lot to achieve. At that time in the Scandinavian Parliaments there were many women members. We still have women in countries such as USA and Australia not being paid the same as men for the same work! And murder, rape and verbal and physical abuse is still rampant throughout the world however, the Minister advised that the Baird government would ensure a Minister for Domestic Violence as the priority if they are re-instated, that is how serious the situation is.

Robyn Carroll spoke of the history of Walla Mulla Family and Community Support which was created by a nun and is now a vital service to the Indigenous community. Robyn also shared about her struggle in life and we were all so happy for her because she has been awarded the NSW Woman Award for Sydney 2015 in the NSW WOMEN AWARDS 2015 and we presented her with a box of congratulatory chocolates along with her bunch of flowers for being a speaker.

Margaret Conway
Margaret Conway

The next speaker was Margaret Conway from GLAPDGreat Lakes Agency for Peace and Development. Margaret spoke about the Great Lakes of Africa especially women from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

Chris Hamer
Chris Hamer

Buddhist Venerable Dr. Tich Minh Tam UNAANSW Committee member brought Professor Chris Hamer UNSW who spoke on the work of Women, Peace and Sustainability. It was rewarding to have full attendance in the Waratah Room and especially that we had for the first time a large contingent of men in the audience.

The Humanist Society of NSW has also been a co-Sponsor of the UNIWDAY for 5 years especially generous with covering costs and Ian Bryce the current President was invited to say a few words.

Mina Batra AM
Mina Batra AM

Mina Batra AM member of the UNAANSW Committee and responsible for the Interfaith Portfolio dressed in a beautiful sari thanked the speakers while Valerie Weeks handed out the final bouquet of pink roses to me not only as a speaker and Convenor/MC but also because the UNIWDAY coincides with my birthday on March 8th. So it was indeed a great day for me.

Waratah Room
Waratah Room

We thank State Parliament House for letting us have the Waratah Room for the venue gratis. We had beautiful croissants and tea and coffee with a platter of fruit and gluten free cupcakes for those who have sensitive stomachs but that was not gratis and that is why we needed to charge for the event.

International Womens Day flowers for speakersMany thanks to Fred Flatow HSNSW member who sat at the door collecting entry monies which covered the expenses of the afternoon tea. We are pleased to announce that serendipitously Fred won the lucky door prize which was a huge heart shaped pink frame for family photos which could be mounted on a wall which he loved and truly deserved!

I would like to finish with mentioning 3 important points: There are two reasons I chose to convene the UNIWD for five years:

  1. To disseminate information about women’s issues
  2. I chose the venue to be State Parliament House Sydney to show that the community especially women have access to Parliament House and gratis.
  3. We have available printed copies of Valerie Weekes’ History of Women in Australia, and Sue Conde’s CEDAW History and the event has been taped and will be on YouTube soon – contact Dr. Affie Adagio <affie@affie.com.au> or 0421 101 163 or (02) 9690 1431 (h)
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Australian Gypsies?

Bob-1a-314x235 This image shows the Bob (aka dING) campsite where his motorbike with sidecar and tent is how he   spends his time away from home as a “grey nomad” which is what we call people at the age of 72 who love to travel or live permanently in campsite communities. His partner is no longer able to accompany him for health reasons but that has not stopped him. All their lives they travelled often sometimes in different ways. In Australia there are swish caravans, some restored old ones some not! Also campervans and today I saw a program on TV44 where someone converted a stationwagon into a motel bedroom in the back (or so it was called) with a colourful huge quilt. The thought occurred to me, as I was born in Romania, how different is the permanent campsite life to that of the Romanian Gypsy? One program shows a well known country singer/TV sports announcer (whose name sadly escapes me now) where there is a whole community of happy campers who top it off with rock and rolling – how great! the gypsy in me is tempted at times especially that I love rock and roll but I’m a city girl so unless I get involved with a guy who likes rock and roll then I’m not likely to be ‘going bush’! Nevertheless have we got Australian Gypsies that we call more socially acceptable names like grey nomads, or happy campers, or caravan communities?!

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Visitor weddings

Married, photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin, Rocky Mount, United StatesI promised to let you know why some visitors to Australia come here to get married because it is not possible to marry in their own country. I also wrote that as I was not exactly sure why this was the case I would wait for the next such wedding and then after more research I would let you know the facts. The reason is quite simple really. In a country where there is a main religion, the partner who is not of that religion needs to change to the religion of the land for a marriage to take place in the church. Here in our country inter-religious marriages have become easier in some cases. Back to the case of marriages in countries outside Australia – when a couple wished to have a civil marriage in such a country, red tape can take so long that it becomes thwarting. So couples visit other countries, bring back the formal documentation which is then recognised and registered in their own country.

I conducted a wedding for a couple from overseas where in their country it was
difficult to have a wedding due to his different religion
so once they lodged the notice of intended marriage in the due time
they flew over and I conducted their marriage in the Royal Botanic Gardens
with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background
it was a delight and the photographer took some impressive pictures
he then took them to other attractive scenic spots where
more pictures were taken, finishing off in their hotel lobby
the couple then flew off to Fiji for their honeymoon…
a marriage to remember

Married, photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin, Rocky Mount, United States

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Happiness

Sweet, photo by jesusroxs, United StatesThere is no use blaming others for our misery because happiness is in our own power. In other words whether we are happy or not depends entirely on our own decisions and perceptions. Other people can try to make us happy or unhappy but we allow them to impact us in whichever way. So make a plan to bring happiness into your life and live fully and blissfully.

Ellen is in her 80s and was an exceptionally
beautiful and talented women in her youth
but most of her life she has been miserable
when asked why this is so she replies that
happiness has eluded her and
misfortune has left its mark on her!
she cannot see that it has been this belief
that has caused her to miss any opportunities
at having happiness and fulfillment and
to this day still blames everyone and everything
for missing out on life’s joys
what a waste of talent and beauty?!

Sweet, photo by jesusroxs, United States

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Coffee addiction

cup, photo by Uli Bartels, Berlin Germany, www.ulrichbartels.deEveryone who loves coffee enjoys the taste and the lift it gives, as well as the social interaction that goes with having coffee with people – friends or business colleagues. It is considered safer than alcohol or other excesses but needless to say coffee addiction is dangerous. How many people do you know who have reached the stage of needing to reduce the number of coffees they have in a day because of doctor’s orders? As I see it if you like coffee, better to drink a safe number of coffees per day than to have to do without it completely, should it get out of hand.

I prefer a cup of tea to a cup of coffee
yet when we are out my first reaction is
to ask if anyone wants to have a coffee?
which surprises me immensely
I realise it is a socialisation outcome
just the thought of going out and
having a cup of coffee over a chat
appeals to me whereas
a cup of tea is something I
have at home or with breakfast out

cup, photo by Uli Bartels, Berlin Germany

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Wedding ceremony

437055_white_bauhinia.jpgOn your special day, you choose the wedding ceremony according to your taste. A romantic ceremony in a park, on a beach, at a reception house, in your backyard, even at the Opera House on the steps. Another exciting part of having a celebrant formalise your marriage is that you choose whether it is a long script or one that is short and sweet. This choice enables you to create the ceremony that has meaning for both of you. Check the celebrant category on this site and get some ideas about what to choose.

the bride and groom wore black
and so did the guests
the marriage took place on the
wharf at the Opera House
they chose the short version
the sun was shining and a cool breeze
gently ruffled everyone’s clothes
then in the middle of the romantic ceremony
helicopters buzzed above, in formation
their mates on the FX team had organised that
and everyone waved at the sky
a day to remember that was

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Fear of rejection

Midnight BooWe pretend to be strong and yet fear of rejection can keep us apart. So many people recoil when they face a criticism. This can be because as a child their parents and or teachers impacted on them in a negative way, whether real or perceived the damage was done. As an adult they are left with scars from those experiences which affect their relationships badly. Others behave in the opposite way – they enjoy the challenge when they are rejected and keeping coming back. Both reactions can be perceived as attractive or unattractive depending on how your needs are met. Nevertheless, we can choose to deal with rejection in a way that makes our lives fulfilled or doomed, it’s all a choice.

Alison had been screaming at her daughter Suzie
for at least half an hour and it felt no better
Suzie quietly got up and said to her mother
that as she was middle aged she chose not to
feel this distress anymore, so she was leaving
Alison screamed out “stay and fight you coward”
and Suzie replied “yes I am a coward and am going”
leaving her mother with her own dysfunctional state
which meant that Alison had to take responsibility
for the insane behaviour she had shown because
there was no one there to blame anything on

(So Sorry after 7yrs and although he had been thanked then, I had to remove the great photo now because the owner asked it be removed so my adorable fear ridden 14 yr Bombay cat Midnight is the replacement photo…Affie 25/9/14)

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Alone – revisited

Self portrait, photo by Marcelo Terraza, Brasilia, Brazil, me myselfI was contacted by a reporter, from Melbourne Age, who found posts on my site about living alone and I was interviewed. The interview covered my personal experience of living alone, those of clients I have seen who live alone, and what I would say as a Life Coach about this lifestyle. The most important points are that it is a rewarding lifestyle when it is by choice, it provides a unique feeling of freedom to do whatever I want when I want (within reason) and as I have been in the wife and mother role before, now my priorities are different. That doesn’t mean I will stay alone, as someone may come along who fits in with my current lifestyle and then I will be willing to share it. However, for now I am enjoying my aloneness.

Kenneth White from Palm Springs California made a comment on one of my posts on living alone and I thought it would be beneficial to show it here.

Bravo!!
Great site.
Very open and informative. Especially on
living alone and relationship checklist!
Congratulations.

Thanks, Kenneth.

Self portrait, photo by Marcelo Terraza, Brasilia, Brazil, me myself

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Escapism

Sunset  over New York City 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, United Sates, romantic cityLife can be so stressful that at times it does us good to see some movies that classify as codependent drivel. For women otherwise known as romantic comedies where ‘boy meets girl, they fight, then they end up together and live happily ever after’ and we leave the theatre smiling. This is often called a ‘chick flick’. For men the unbelievable action story where they dodge bullets and explosions and still live through, only to have sex with the perfect female star. As long as we remain aware that these movies are purely a form of escapism, then it is harmless codependent drivel.

my friend, Elizabeth, and I went to the movies
and as we considered which film to see
we spoke of our emotional state
I said I felt like watching something light
perhaps some codependent drivel
and we chuckled thinking about it
to this day I don’t remember what we saw
but I do remember us laughing
and leaving with uplifted spirits

sunset over New York city 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, USA, romantic city

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Sleeping to the sound of music

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping musicA relaxing activity is to play instrumental peaceful music as you fall asleep. It is vital, though, that the music be gentle and not have words that can instil a contrary message in your subconscious mind. Some songs, although beautiful, have messages of ‘poor abandoned me’ or psych you up with ‘I’m a winner’ and this is not relaxing as you sleep. Also important is that you play music that will finish and not be repeated all night because this may only keep you in a light sleep and not give you the rest you need. The same applies to sleeping with the TV on which can keep your mind busy all night. Then you wonder why you are tired and crotchety during the next day?

as we talked about the tension in their relationship
and what took place on a daily basis
it became apparent that every night they
watched TV in their bedroom
for relaxation of course!
they fell asleep while it was on
as their therapist I suggested that they
try turning the TV off when it was time to sleep
and they could play soft relaxing music instead
they did and the difference in their daytime
behaviour and interaction was noticeably calmer

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping music

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