Women and Girls at risk Symposium
With numerous migrant women and girls continuously facing considerable health and social issues, a symposium held during the international campaign known as 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence was designed to foster active participation and discussions to identify the risks and preventative measures.
Organised by Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Network, the symposium which took place on the 28th of November included speeches from Pru Goward, NSW Minister for Women and Minister for Planning; and Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
After welcoming the audience, the director of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service Dr Eman Sharobeem, explained that the symposium‘s aim was to address a range of issues including (but not limited to) gendered violence, responses to the reprehensible violence against women in immigrant/migrant/refugee communities, engaging and working in partnership with men to prevent violence against women and female genital mutilation.
Addressing the event, Minister for Women Pru Goward said “It’s important that we are very frank about the violence that occurs in every corner of our society and use all our energy to brainstorm and support each other to inspire ideas, initiatives and connections that will break that silence”.
The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash reaffirmed the Australian Government’s commitment to declining the number of women and girls impacted by reprehensible gender-based violence.
“One of the things we have done as a federal government to ensure that we tackle the issue of violence against women and children is a national action plan”
The forum also presented a panel of expert guest speakers with the aim of raising awareness amongst the culturally and linguistically diverse communities about the numerous ways women and girls lives are endangered in the 21st century.
The audience was moved by the strong words of empowerment and union against issues placing women at risk. Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick called on all Australians to stand up to end the reprehensible violence against women and children and reported that violence against women and girls was a global epidemic.
“There are now more women living in an intimate relationship characterized by physical violence than there are malnourished people. That is almost 1 billion individuals”.
Mrs Faten El-Dana OAM, the President of MWWA reiterated a strong stand on prevention and hope during the symposium with a specific emphasis on education as a preventative measure future generations. She also addressed the strategies that MWWA implements in order to assist Muslim Women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
“The main mission of the Muslim Women’s Welfare of Australia is dealing with pressing women’s issues, supporting women from emerging communities, referring women to needed services, networking and collaborating with other organizations, advising government on important issues related to Muslim women in particular and ongoing consultation with the community”.
“Our strategies at MWWA are raising awareness amongst parents and migrants about domestic violence and educating particularly the youth and training and facilitating leaders amongst the youth”
“We work in partnership with Darulfatwa- the Islamic High Council of Australia and we organize lectures to senior students at our private schools to talk to them about these issues”.
The symposium program also included a presentation from a woman who gave a witness on the circumstances women in Iraq face and endure.
The symposium was an opportunity for representatives from a broad range of departments to highlight the issues that migrant girls and women face and the preventions and solutions required to combat them.
2MFM as a service sector will help to ensure that such measures are implemented so that Muslim women and girls can escape the reprehensible violence and be able to participate fully in Australian society.