Women of various ethnicities gather annually for the “Women of Diversity” Dinner in Sydney. Instigated by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in 2016, the event, held each July, brings together hundreds of women from across Sydney for an evening of dance, music, poetry and presentations. The event celebrates commonality in womanhood, in spite of their differences in upbringing, life stories and experiences in Australia. It is an evening to recognise women’s identity as sisters of the same global family.
COVID-19 has not halted the women’s enthusiasm to meet again this year. The steering committee, comprising representatives from organisations including Afghan Women on the Move, Australian South Sea Islanders – Port Jackson, Ethnic Communities Council of NSW, Muslim Women’s National Network of Australia, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, SAHELI (South Asian Women’s organisation) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had its first planning meeting, held virtually. During this meeting, the women expressed a collective sense of belonging, respect and unity. Having developed their friendships over four years, the women have learned about each other’s work and sometimes organised joint projects. They have come to admire the contribution that each woman, and their organisation, make to sustain a harmonious community.
Traditionally, the Diversity Dinner gives high regard to the refugee community. Indeed, the 2020 head committee member, Maryam Zahid, arrived in Australia at the age of 20 as an Afghan refugee. Her leadership role on this event speaks loudly of the positive influence which refugees and migrants can make. In light of current national and international happenings, this year’s event will also celebrate the rich history of Indigenous women. Leading up to July, the organisers can pre-empt that the 2020 event will be a memorable experience.
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