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)

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?!

Adam Lambert: American Idol audience prejudice

Adam LambertI don’t usually follow talent shows because the final choice is quite often unexpected. Nevertheless, as I flicked onto one of the American Idol shows with Adam Lambert performing, my hair stood on end at the talent of this man. His voice and performance was iconic. Every time there was a new segment I watched with anticipation and recommended it to others.

He is a star in the making and everyone who watched him with me agreed. We got goosebumps every time he performed. He may have sometimes looked Gothic and with his black nail-polish could be misinterpreted but he was pure talent and the judges even gave him standing ovations. Adam changed his appearance to suit the genre assigned for that particular show, and any mentor supervising their performances could only confirm the enormity of his unique talent.

At that stage rumours abounded that he was gay too. Nevertheless, his talent was undoubtedly iconic no matter what his sexual preferences were. I expected that Americans would be far more progressive than they proved to be in the final vote.

When Adam did not win American Idol even the winner, Kris Allen, admitted he expected Adam deserved the award. Kris, the winner was talented in a traditional way but Adam was undoubtedly exceptional. I even taped his performances, something I had not done ever before. I imagined he was this generation’s Elvis Presley or Freddie Mercury, yet he fit in with KISS and Santana in the final show.

So when he did not win, I was convinced America’s bible belt had pushed for a majority vote against him.? I could just hear the religious leaders saying to their parishioners “make sure everyone votes for someone other than Adam who will lead our youth astray”.

Then Adam made it known that he is gay and good for him.

Well, it was obviously a prejudiced vote and I pledged I would not watch American Idol again.
And I haven’t since. Americans need to lift their game or they will be seen by the rest of the world as being backwards. No wonder more and more people are turning away from religions.

So Adam, you will exceed and there are many worldwide who can see your talent and we are waiting for your CD’s. I am looking forward to the day that you become the star you deserve to be. And you will be.

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)

Relationship with self

elisa_hiding_pose, Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria, self loathingTo have fulfilling relationships with anyone else we need to first develop a loving relationship with self. It’s the foundation for any type of love we have with others. Without the ability to love ourselves we feel emptiness or self hate which leads to needing feelgoods such as food, alcohol and other drugs or addictive processes like work, gambling, love and sex. To develop healthy self love we list our strengths and weaknesses, because that raises our self awareness – education is 50% of achieving the outcome we want. Then we list what we want out of life and what we definitely don’t want. Try it and see.

Yvonne was a pleasant person who
made friends easily but she was
extremely overweight from using
food to medicate her resentments
at times she appeared “sickly sweet”
and so apologetic that it seemed
she was even apologising for breathing
that is codependent behaviour and
can only lead to unhappiness
as she got into recovery from codependency
she developed her relationship with herself
in listing her strengths and weaknesses
as well as her wants and needs in life
her self esteem was strengthened and
in time her relationships with others
became more fulfilling
eventually she lost a lot of weight because
she didn’t need to self medicate with food

elisa_hiding_pose, photo by Elisabeth Fuchs, Vienna Austria

Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

Honeymoon period

Lovers, photo by Sundar Chinnusamy, Erode India, loving relationshipsMost times when we romantically connect with people, the first phase is called the honeymoon period because it’s a state of ‘love in bloom’. We think alike, we enjoy the same food and drinks. We share the same interests, even to the extent that the men watch ‘chick flicks’ and the women watch ‘action movies’ (usually full of gruesome violence). Just being together is fun. It’s a moment in time that usually lasts for 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, as shown by surveys. The relationship can then transform into a loving relationship based on friendship. Couples can customise their relationships to suite themselves and make life fulfilling which will provide a safe environment for their children, if they have any.

he asked her to marry him and
as both had been divorced
as well as having children between them
they discussed two or three vital issues
which they expected to face in marriage
then they agreed on some resolutions
which they could use to avoid disharmony
it was a peaceful, happy, sensual relationship
and above all a friendship based on respect

Support groups

Figures groups, photo by Sanja Gjenero,  supportive friendsAll over the world in different cultures, a natural phenomenon is the healing power of support groups. These groups can be hobby groups, work groups, recovery groups, church groups, and so on. When people get together they share their experiences and how they have solved their problems, which inspires the whole group to do what others have done to resolve their traumas or to share their stories about how they lead fulfilling lives.

we travelled aboard a ship for a holiday
taking 30 days to visit many ports
each day there were activities on the cruise
both on board and on land where we made
new friends and joined in whatever was on
we noticed in different countries how
people had their own support groups which
made their lives worthwhile and although
they were different cultures the
process was the same – beneficial

Figures groups, photo by Sanja Gjenero, supportive friends

Being happy

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Bthune,  France,  happiness isHumans will go to any lengths to be happy. We feel we deserve happiness and rightfully so. Some people have the ability to feel happy easily from the simplest experiences. While other people are not so fortunate and they need a substance or process to help them feel that ‘high’. However, using something to feel ‘high’ becomes the beginning of the end, because happiness which is stimulated that way is never enough. The more you do it the more you want. Although abstinence from addiction may appear boring it brings serenity and eventually serenity becomes happiness and even bliss. This type of happiness is enough of a ‘high’ and doesn’t leave you wanting more and more.

I was a chain smoker in a time when it was
considered sophisticated to smoke
as we became more informed about
the dangers of this addiction it was
painful to consider living without the thrill
of lighting up and the rush of that first puff
however, it started to leave my mouth
with a foul taste and I new it was time
I thought it would be so boring and then
I quit with the help of Nicotine Anonymous
it’s been 18 years now since I took my last puff
and I have felt happiness and bliss that I thought
would never be possible without a cigarette
the high comes from within if you’re patient and
if you follow your passion to becoming fulfilled

Sunset Dance, photo by Eric Vallin, Bthune, France, happiness is

Active listening

Can you hear me?, photo by T. Rolf, Kolding, Denmark,  feeling heardWe often think we are listening but our minds race and we have already come up with comments to what the other person is saying before they even finish talking. Active listening is about being able to feedback what you have heard the other person say before you make your comment. That way they feel heard and do not have to repeat themselves over and over. That’s how nagging develops.

as they complained about each other
I realised that they were not waiting until the other
finished talking, before they contributed their view
so we had a practice run with each one giving feedback
before saying what they wanted to
I mediated so that they kept to the format
and at the end there was active listening
which is guaranteed to improve a relationship