Wednesday, 2 March 2022

It is my great pleasure to join you today for this International Women’s Day Forum.

I thank the Australian Migrant Resource Centre and its many partners for bringing it about, including:

  • The Council of Migrant and Refugee Women of SA;
  • Middle Eastern Communities Council of SA;
  • African Communities Council of SA;
  • Multicultural Youth Link SA;
  • And the Commissioner for Children and Young People SA.

As Governor, and AMRC’s patron in chief, this is the first time I have attended an event with your communities, and in particular the women of your communities.

I trust today will mark the first of many occasions we spend together.

COVID has created many challenges to gathering physically in groups.

Although there is much that can be done over our phones or computers, there is a special connection that can only be made when people meet in person.

I’m thankful this forum gives us the opportunity to form such connections, reflecting this year’s theme: “Women: Building the Future Together.”

For me, International Women’s Day is about women coming together in solidarity – to share stories and experiences, to learn from one another, and to lift each other up.

Today’s forum - with its panellist of speakers, recognition for MRC volunteers, roundtable discussions and networking lunch – is the perfect vehicle to achieve these aims.

While International Women’s Day provides us with an excellent and necessary focal point each year, I believe strongly that we need to support each other every day.

I can still remember, years later, the small gestures of support and encouragement offered to me by senior women colleagues as my diplomatic career progressed.

I remember sitting in rooms of predominantly men and struggling to be heard, only to be backed up by other women present. And I have done the same.

It’s important to note the additional barriers that women can face in the pursuit of equality, by virtue of cultural background, as well as age, disability and other factors.

While much has been done to achieve equality for women, there is still much to do.

In my previous career, I learned that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce.

A room of diverse decision makers makes for better decisions.

As Governor of South Australia, I am committed to fostering and strengthening diversity in our state, especially at the leadership level.

I commend the Migrant Resource Centre, in recent years, for creating the Council of Migrant and Refugee Women of South Australia, which brings women leaders together to drive change for new migrants and refugee women.

To all women here today, I thank you for the work you do as leaders in your communities.

I thank you for setting a strong example for our girls and young women.

I wish you all a fruitful and enjoyable forum and a Happy International Women’s Day next week.