|Ambassador Jane Connolly|
Three of our members -- Emma Catteau (NCWNZ Board administrator), Amy Rice and Parminder Kaur from Wellington Branch -- participated in the annual Summer School organised by the Embassy of Ireland taking place in Wellington on the 10th and 11th of February 2023.
To celebrate both Brigid’s Day, Ireland’s celebration of the creativity and influence of women and girls, and the 130th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Summer School was focused “Agents of Change: A Reflection on the Legacy, Influence, and Role of Women and Girls”.
After a few words were given by Jane Connolly, the Ambassador of Ireland, and Nina Obermaier, Ambassador of the European Delegation to Aotearoa New Zealand, the guests followed a conversation with Louisa Wall, Ambassador for Gender Equality in Pacific. The former athlete, retired Labour Party MP and Human Rights defender depicted what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated Parliament. She elaborated on how vulnerable our representative democracy is and explained the importance of being a good “ally”. To make change happen, hearing from the community you are trying to mobilise is necessary, which is also extremely important when working around intersectionality. Being an ally includes showing up for the communities you are supporting, let them lead the debates, listen to their needs and get educated on their issues.
When asked “What is an agent of change?”, guest speakers notably mentioned the idea of being a disruptor, being able to see beyond what’s usual, and being able to bring people along with you. Throughout the different discussions, speeches and workshops, the guests got to learn about how societal transformations can be made, no matter at which scale, no matter the area of focus or the obstacles that will be faced.
We are grateful to the Irish Embassy for giving NCWNZ the opportunity to exchange ideas with inspiring women who are making changes in Aotearoa New Zealand.
NCWNZ's Emma Catteau commented:
“I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to meet the amazing women who were present at the Irish Embassy. As a newcomer in New Zealand, I was impressed to learn about the efforts and initiatives made to create change and the number of women that are raising their voice and fighting for what they believe in. Their effort will enable future generations to have access to the same human rights as their peers, and live in a world free of violence, threat and discrimination. Lastly, I stand by Dr Forough Amin’s declaration that women should be supporting women against patriarchy around the world and that we should all work together towards an egalitarian society.”
Break time at the Irish Embassy overlooking Wellington Harbour