GOCSA celebrates International Women’s Day with empowering event

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Under the theme ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress’ the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) joined the worldwide International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations with a special event held at Olympic Hall on Friday, 8 March.

During the event, distinguished guest speakers Angela Michael, Principal of Gawler & District College B-12, and Maria Panagiotidis, Magistrate at Adelaide Magistrates Court, shared their stories and said that although advances have been made towards gender equality and female participation, progress has been slow.

In her welcome speech, Hellas Lucas, chair of the GOCSA Cultural Committee, said, “we have come a long way since women were treated as men’s property, but there is a long way to go.”

The Hon Mira El Dannawi MLC representing the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Peter Malinauskas MP, said it is vital that women’s contribution in multicultural communities be recognised and celebrated.

“I want to highlight the amazing work multicultural women do every day, and today is the time to celebrate their achievements and contributions,” Ms El Dannawi said.

She also highlighted some of the initiatives the Malinauskas government has taken to improve and further encourage the economic, social, and cultural participation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women across different sectors.

The Hon Michelle Lensink MLC, Shadow Minister for Women, representing the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon David Speirs MP, said that “it’s an important day to celebrate and thank the women who give so much to their families and communities and increasingly in the world of work.”

Principal of Gawler & District College B-12, Angela Michael, shared her experiences growing up in a Greek family, her passion for shaping the future of young minds and her experience as an educator for the past 37 years. Ms Michael’s presentation was centered around the words Perseverance (Επιμονή), Purpose (Σκοπός), Passion (Πάθος).

“Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed,” Ms Michael said.

The event continued with an uplifting presentation by Maria Panagiotidis, Magistrate at Adelaide Magistrates Court, who said that “we need women’s groups and we need to celebrate International Women’s Day because we always need to keep an eye on things and make sure that women are getting a fair go.”

During the event, GOCSA acknowledged two of its female volunteers for their contribution to the Community. The Award recipients were Mrs Koula Tsintziniotis, a long-standing volunteer at St Constantine and Helen Philoptochos, and Mrs Niki Tsatsos, a former volunteer and President of Taxiarchi Philoptochos for over ten years.

GOCSA President, Peter Gardiakos and Cultural Committee Chair, Hellas Lucas presented the Award to Mrs Tsintziniotis thanking her for her ongoing support and service to the organisation. Ms Lucas received the award on behalf of Mrs Tsatsos. Emcee at the event was Ms Smaro Skordas, General Secretary.

Local band Meraki Ensemble, with musicians Kostas Barlas – bouzouki, Demeter Tsounis – piano, Joakim Kalapatsonis – bass, musically enhanced the event.

Attending were the Mayor of the City of Charles Sturt, Ms Angela Evans and Cr Peter Ppiros, the Mayor of the City of West Torrens, Michael Coxon and Cr Zoi Papafilopoulos, Chair of the South Australian Multicultural Commission Ms Adriana Christopoulos, former director of Public Prosecutions Mr Stephen Pallaras and representatives of other Greek associations.

Speeches were followed by a buffet dinner and refreshments.

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