Strength in numbers: Women Leading Change forum, Sydney

 

Last Saturday, around 20 women representing a diverse range of diaspora-led community organisations, gathered in Auburn, Sydney for our Women Leading Change forum. The purpose of the afternoon was to bring together women who are active in campaigning for human rights and peace, and raising awareness of issues affecting communities in their countries of origin.

 

The afternoon brought together a passionate and vibrant group of women, including representatives from the Australian Tamil Congress, Hazara Women of Australia and the Iraqi community.

 

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Women Leading Change forum, Sydney

Women shared their experiences of raising awareness of human rights violations facing women in war and conflict, discrimination and violence affecting minority communities, and their work in advocating for peace in their countries of origin. 

 

Many women spoke of the challenges they have faced in Australia of trying to raise awareness of important human rights issues amongst policy forums involving government and humanitarian agencies, and a desire to raise the profile and strengthen the voice of diaspora women.

 

Women also talked about the value of meeting women from other communities and groups who are trying to achieve the similar aims, and the ways in which they can share ideas and strategies.

 

As part of the afternoon forum, HCH Director Denise Cauchi noted the crucial role that diaspora women play in the peace building processes in their countries of origin. Our facilitator in Sydney, Kelly Nicholls talked about the role a Women Leading Change network could have in mobilising women’s groups, building their profile and the opportunity to work on collective pieces of advocacy.

 

The next step is for women interested in being part of a network to meet again in one month, and to expand the reach of this initial group. There was a firm resolve that any network would be action-focused, and the women on Saturday talked about arranging a conference or forum highlighting the various campaigns and groups that they represent.

 

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday 12 October. Diaspora women’s groups as well as representatives from government and the humanitarian sector interested in attending or knowing more should contact wlc@crisishub.org.au

Lisa Vettori, 

Community Coordinator, Humanitarian Crisis Hub