An International Women’s Day event has embodied the inclusive spirit of the day with a celebration involving women, men and children of all ages and backgrounds.
Not-for-profit humanitarian organisation Settlement Services International (SSI) hosted the event for Auburn locals, community groups and individuals and families who are new to Australia.
There were performances, gardening workshops and art demonstrations, along with craft, henna designs and a pampering corner with nail art, hair styling and make up.
One attendee, Iman, displayed artworks that she developed in the five years she has lived in Australia.
“I used to just paint animals, now I just paint women. In my country, women are oppressed, so now I paint women enjoying freedom,” Iman said. “Freedom is dancing. Freedom is wearing what you want.”
Held at the Auburn Centre for Community, the event activities were suitable for people of all ages and genders, with the aim of encouraging attendance from both men and women.
SSI Community Engagement Manager Trina Soulos said gender equality was an issue affecting the whole community, so it was important for all community members to be involved in celebrating International Women’s Day.
“Gender equality is not just an issue for women. Including fathers, husbands and sons in community celebrations like this is just one of the ways we can fight stereotypes and create more positive change for women,” she said.
“We wanted to capture the inclusive spirit of International Women’s Day and create a space where everyone was welcome to celebrate unity, gender equality, resilience and hope.”
Around 200 people attended the event, where lunch was prepared by sisters Sharon and Carol Salloum supported by SSI staff and volunteers. The culinary duo run Sydney restaurant Almond Bar and have been regular contributors at SSI events for refugees and people seeking asylum.
The event was a great example of community coming together, with contributions from Cumberland Council, the House of Welcome and the Women’s Creative Hub, Community Migrant Resource Centre, Auburn Diversity Services Inc, Olivetree Women’s Network, Aunty's Ginger and Tonic, Australian Asian Cultural Association, Playgroup NSW, Reverse Garbage, Cumberland Women’s Health Centre and Parramatta Holroyd Family and Domestic Violence Prevention Committee.
SSI Communications Assistant, Hannah Gartrell, 02 8799 6740