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United Nations Association of Australia, Victorian branch Status of Women Committee 11 November 2020 meeting

What has our committee achieved in 2020?

This was the question posed to members of the United Nations Association of Victoria, Status of  Women Committee by Sheila Byard long standing member. We had to think carefully because 2020  has been a year with only two physical meetings, no interns producing papers on women’s issues for  our consideration and little contact with committee members who are not Zooming to our monthly  meetings.

After some discussion, members agreed that as the United Nations turned seventy-five this year, we were wise in February to review the effectiveness of the organisation. Our review revealed that the  United Nations is an evolving organisation with a variety of interest groups that challenge the concept of global citizenship. https://www.un.org/en/un75/presskit

Reducing violence against women has been a major topic of investigation during 2020. Mmaskepe  Sejoe of Human Rights Work, and a member of the Status of Women Committee informed us that  the Federal government is considering funding neighbourhood houses to inform residents at the  community level, of services available to victims of family violence.

During this year the committee analysed the Federal Government’s report modern slavery in  Australia https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/criminal-justice/people smuggling-human-trafficking/modern-slavery-act-coronavirus

and kept informed of the responses of Australian women’s not for government organisations to the  Federal and state government initiatives to eliminate violence against women.

National Council of Women of Victoria 5 November meeting

Zoom made it easy for me to attend the November meeting as WIZO’s delegate to hear guest  speaker Assoc. Professor Dawn Gleeson of University of Melbourne speak about the mentoring and  social support given to first year university students to ensure that their transition to university is  not overwhelming. Dawn also spoke of the reduced numbers of international students and the  resulting impact on staff numbers, research projects and challenge of switching to online teaching.

NAIDOC Week 8-15 November

In previous years, Winja Ulupna Recovery Hostel in St Kilda has invited WIZO members to NAIDOC celebrations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ history, culture and achievements. https://www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/2020-theme

The celebration has been postponed this year however we sent our good wishes to residents and  when restrictions are lifted, we hope to supply the hostel with gift packs for Christmas.

Bahia Community of Australia

In February as your delegate, I attended a round table discussion hosted by the Bahia Community of  Australia on the topic of how do we create a socially cohesive Australian society? Attendees were  invited to suggest ways of breaking down the barriers that prevent us valuing others who are  different to ourselves. Fifty round table discussions throughout Australia have resulted in “Creating  An Inclusive Narrative” publication https://www.oea.bahai.org.au/blog launched at the Social  Cohesion & Inclusion National ONLINE Conference 16-20 November. The Bahai community of  Australia has this year reached out to WIZO with an invitation to an event aimed at strengthening  friendship with us.

Compiled by Nina Richwol 
Community Liaison Officer
WIZO Australia

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