International Women's Day

17 March, 2021

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:43): Today, I rise to speak about International Women's Day. This year, the campaign theme for International Women's Day is Choose to Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change—and many women have done so through rallies and speaking out to the media. 

I am pleased to share in parliament today that it was a great honour to represent the Marshall Liberal government at four International Women's Day events this year. Coming out of a COVID pandemic year we ought to be so grateful that we live in one of the safest places in the world that allows us to have gatherings and to celebrate such important events. 

I would like to place my special thanks and congratulations on the public record to acknowledge four organisations that have put together significant COVID safe events and invited me to be their special guest to celebrate International Women's Day, particularly to highlight the work of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. 

The first event was held on 2 March. As always, it was a great privilege to join the Australian Migrant Resource Centre as a guest speaker for their International Women's Day forum, with the title 'Women working together for change'. My heartfelt congratulations to AMRC deputy chairperson, Ms Elizabeth Ho; CEO, Ms Eugenia Tsoulis OAM; board members and the hardworking AMRC team; Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly; all the panel speakers, including Tanya Hosch, the 2021 South Australian of the Year; and other distinguished guests and participants for their wonderful contributions to the event and for raising important issues confronting women and for celebrating women from diverse backgrounds. 

The second event I attended was on 5 March. It was the UNAA-SA International Women's Day breakfast. In a normal year, as we know, it is the biggest in the country. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the annual event became an online event to support the fundraising efforts of UN Women Australia.  

The United Nations Association of Australia SA President, Ms Lidia Moretti, generously hosted a small number of guests at her home to join the virtual morning tea gathering. Sincere thanks to the wonderful Lidia Moretti for hosting us at her beautiful home. The event was a great opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to support the UN's women initiatives. 

The third event I would like to highlight was proudly presented by Radio Italiana 531. They managed to have their International Women's Day celebration on Monday 8 March, which is the actual day of International Women's Day. It was fantastic to celebrate the achievements of women in the Italian community in South Australia. We were joined by inspiring and courageous guest speakers, including SAPOL Brevet Sergeant Ada Scalzi, mental health and domestic violence diversion court prosecutor, and Signorina Lara Di Fabio, a lawyer and recognised as a rising star in South Australia in the Doyle's Guide2019 lawyer ranking. 

I pay tribute to Maria Maglieri, as well as the deputy chair of SAMEAC, Toni Cocchiaro, for being there as well. I would like to thank Eleonora Finoia, the production manager, together with Clementina Maione, Josie Belperio and Radio Italiana's International Women's Day Committee for this very successful event. 

The last event I attended was organised by the Non-Resident Nepali Association in conjunction with the Nepalese community and which was held on Wednesday 10 March. This forum was used as a meaningful fundraising event that aimed to deliver an inspiring message, with all proceedings supporting the menstruation campaign in Nepal through the social enterprise Pad2Go. 

The special guest speakers were the founders of Taboo. Ms Isobel Marshall, the 2021 Young Australian of the Year, shared her remarkable story of addressing period poverty and a social enterprise founded with her partner, Ms Eloise Hall, who was not able to join us on that day but her speech was very inspiring. We would like to acknowledge special thanks to NRNA state coordinator, Mr Nabin Panth, and particularly to acknowledge Mrs Manju Khadka, the state coordinator of the NRNA women's forum, Ms Santoshi Gautam and Ms Dolkar Gurung and the committee for their outstanding work. 

Congratulations to all the organisations for celebrating women's achievements and how far women have come and for recognising how much work we still have to do to achieve equality status and full participation in our modern society.