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?!

People helping people

691693_many_hands.jpgIt is so important to belong to a community of like minded people. It prevents isolation. It provides social activities and above all it gives us support when we need it. Furthermore, providing service to the community is also a healthy activity and can be quite fulfilling. However, it is vital that we avoid gossip and that we practise good people skills otherwise the purpose is defeated. People helping people is a basic necessity for happiness and fulfillment.

sometimes we teach what we need to learn
and Jessie paid attention to the message she gave
to the people who came to her for assistance
so although she was giving service because she
found it rewarding she also was mindful about
what it meant to her wellbeing
and the lesson she got for herself today was that
she was glad to be free of the obsession
that others were still struggling with

Dysfunctional behaviour in the media

Girl 3, photo by ophelia cherry, Soresina,ItalyHow many times have we seen inappropriate behaviour in the media. Which comes first dysfunctional behaviour in real life and then depicted in the media, or behaviour role modelled in the media which we copy in real life? It is commonly thought that what happens in real life comes first. But how many times have we seen adult friends slapping each other around in real life as has been on TV? I haven’t once seen any such behaviour in real life that has not caused major emotional and physical hurt. I remember the Dynasty arch enemies, Linda Evans and Joan Collins, wrestling in their diamonds and designer clothes whilst falling into the swimming pool, making people laugh. Surely we must be more responsible for what behaviour examples we support in the media because ‘monkey see, monkey do’ and people can repeat dysfunctionality just because it appears popular in the media.

a client came to see me about her violent partner
she had a black eye and it was not the first time
I asked her what was she going to do about it
and she laughed nervously saying that he was
really sorry and promised not to do it again
and she would trust him once more
because he professed his love for her
eventually she realised how dangerous it got
and started a new life without him
just in time, I thought

Girl 3, photo by ophelia cherry, Soresina,Italy, http://www.nelshael.com/ophelia

Love and trust

Holding hands, photo by Herman Hooyschuur, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  loving relationshipThis comment was made by Vickie Turley and it supported my post on ‘Trust is vital’

Without trust we cannot be authentic with one another. And trust is built over time – which is why relationships take time to grow. Too many times we want to rush the relationship but the trust isnt there yet. We must be patient and let it come.

What Vickie says is believed by many and it works for them.

I believe in another school of thought which is that trust is not earned, it already exists to begin with, just as love does. The ability to trust is abundant and in setting such an expectation the people we love live up to that expectation. However, if we slip and make a mistake then we need to make amends and build that trust up as we would a plant that has been damaged, gently. This notion feels easier to achieve than one that takes time and we need to work hard at to achieve. When the trust is not there in the beginning of a relationship I would ask “what is going on?” – does one or both of the partners have intimacy issues or have experienced damaged trust in the past and are bringing it into the relationship as baggage? In which case they would do well to process that baggage or see a therapist to assist in that process.

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)

Trust is vital

Lovers, photo by Ovlachi Gyrgy, Budapest, Hungary, intimacy, loveFor a relationship to grow, trust is vital. Whether the relationship is one between you and your lover, parents, children, colleagues, and/or your friends, without trust you have major problems. Trust creates closeness, otherwise known as intimacy and this fuels a relationship. So when you have relationship difficulties, look at what has happened to the trust between you and rescue the relationship by building the trust once more. Sometimes you need the assistance of a therapist for this.

he kept telling her that she needed
to lift her game for him to trust her again!
and then he was surprised that she
didn’t want to have sex or that
she wanted to leave him
we spoke about the impact his
criticisms had on her self esteem
and that she couldn’t trust him now
because his remarks had hurt her so much
in time as they spent more quality time
their friendship strengthened and
they were able to express their needs
much more appropriately than
attacking each other or expecting
that the trust be earned before
love could be rekindled between them
now they are enjoying their relationship
as the trust grows stronger

Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

Same sex relationships

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couplesWhen I write about relationships it is important to understand that the same applies to same sex relationships except for marriage, which is not legally permitted in this country, yet. A gay couple who wishes to make a relationship commitment can do this in a ceremony which is similar to a marriage. Any civil celebrant can perform such a celebration and I have not come across one who would not be happy to do so. One day in this country, we will progress to the point when we can have legal marriages between same sex couples, and I as a celebrant look forward to that day.

They came to me to be married and
I explained that in this country
same sex marriages were not permitted
I felt so sorry that I was the messenger of
such an antiquated way of thinking
nevertheless, we planned a beautiful ceremony
which involved everything that a
heterosexual couple would experience
the only difference was that there were
no State documents signed
yet the moment was captured in
a sentimental ceremony which will
provide an exceptional memory
to all those who were at the ceremony

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couples

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of loveToday is the day of love. Some people criticise the practise because they believe it is too commercialised. Other people enjoy the romantic and sensual mood of the day. It was once the role of the male to send flowers, chocolates and poetry to the female, often it was an anonymous gesture, creating intrigue. Nowadays it is something both men and women do for each other. It is a ritual that enhances relationships. Unless both partners dislike celebrating the day of love, then it is worthwhile to participate in the celebration.

Bruce felt that it was ridiculous to
celebrate Valentine’s Day
Vicki was looking forward to
receiving some show of affection
on the day of love from her new partner
somehow he had managed to avoid it
on previous occasions but she had
made it clear that it was important to her
Bruce ordered the works
flowers, perfume, choice words in the card
and dinner for two at a romantic restaurant
why? because he is a smart bloke and
values the relationship enough to
do the right thing when he is made aware
just as Vicki has done with his wishes
such as fishing with the mates on the
first Sunday of the month and the
regular card night at their place
with her playing the hostess
this exchange of favours to satisfy
each others desires is what makes
their relationship special

Happy Valentines Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of love