Manukau Branch Members at Gabriela One Billion Rising IWD Event

Gabriela Aotearoa IWD 2024Two members of the Manukau Branch of NCW attended the International Women's Day multicultural event on 8 March 2024 held by the Filipino alliance of women's organisations called Gabriela Aotearoa. The event was part of the "One Billion Rising" celebration for 2024. According to their website: "We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by violence [against women]. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable."

The day started with an emphasis on creativity and sustainability. An inspiring session on upcycling and crafting with the ReCreators provided the opportunity to transform everyday items into beautiful crafts. We also attended presentations by three remarkable speakers who shared their journeys, struggles and triumphs as women. Speakers included Leonie Morris of Auckland Women’s Centre; Hina Nasir, Human Rights and Women Empowerment Advocate; and, Drokshan Shadan, Women’s Rights and Refugee Rights Advocate.

At the interactive workshop, we had the chance to share our own experiences, listen others and discuss ways we can support each other in our journeys as women. We moved into small groups to discuss: “What are the biggest challenges that you face as a woman in New Zealand?” These challenges included language, getting a job and in some cases getting their men to change their ways and this too was related to equality. A Māori woman who played the guitar made up a song and changed the word 'woman' to 'womyn' as she was not happy with the word in its present format.

And then – there was Zumba! We danced together with a cause and be a part of the global One Billion Rising movement. Dance is a vibrant expression of freedom and solidarity. Delicious coffee with biscuits was provided on arrival; and, after these sessions, lunch was enjoyed by all.

It was a very enjoyable event. For us it was like a world-first because nearly every woman we spoke to was an immigrant. They had come to New Zealand from such countries as Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Germany, Samoa, Korea, Philippines, Sri Lanka. Very brave women.


To read more articles from The Circular (March-April 2024) issue 646, click on the tag below.
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