Rejecting Tokenism and Standing in Solidarity: Launch of Seeds of Resistance

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MWA Commemorates International Women’s Day 2024 by Rejecting Tokenism and Standing in Solidarity

On International Women’s Day 2024, Muslim Women Australia (MWA), a women’s not-for-profit organisation supporting and advocating for women for over 40 years, did not celebrate International Women’s Day. Instead, we commemorated this day in remembrance of the countless women who have lost their lives due to systems of oppression, including state-sanctioned violence.   

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024, “Count Her In,” was a stark contradiction to the messaging we at MWA, alongside many others, have been amplifying. From Palestine and beyond, we have been advocating that women are more than just numbers; they are individuals with stories, dreams, and aspirations that cannot be quantified.   

MWA held an online webinar, “Sowing the Seeds: More than numbers” on Thursday 7th March 2024 that highlighted and unpacked the specific impact of the current crisis in Palestine, its impact on women, and the way in which certain constructs are contextualised and conditional.    

CEO of MWA, Hajeh Maha Krayem Abdo, opened the event by speaking about how, together, we can sow the seeds of resistance and pave the way for a future where all women, regardless of their nationality or circumstances, can live with dignity and equality.  “In 2024, MWA did not celebrate International Women’s Day as we usually do. Instead, we commemorated the day and marked it as a day to continue to amplify the voices that speak up about truth and justice”, said Maha Krayem Abdo OAM, CEO of MWA.   

At this webinar, keynote speaker Dr Helen McCue AM, recipient of the 2023-2024 Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize, co-founder of Union Aid Abroad and former United Nations consultant, launched the “Seeds of Resistance Preliminary Report”, a report that documents the myriad ways individuals have creatively and strategically responded to and resisted racism, violence, abuse, genocide, misinformation, discrimination, and oppression over the last five months. Dr Leticia Funston presented an overview of the Report, bringing light to the tireless efforts of people to increase dignity and safety for themselves, their families, and their communities in Palestine and around the world.  

A significant aspect of “Sowing the Seeds: More than numbers” was in honouring the voices of Palestinians.  There was a special video message from Daiana Al-Bukhari, from Gaza, Palestine who shared her thoughts on what International Women’s Day means to her, and what the women of Palestine are going through. Mariam Dawwas, a Palestinian journalist who recently arrived in Australia from Gaza, Palestine with her mother, daughter and sisters, also shared a firsthand account of her experiences, the hardships faced by Palestinians, and how she draws her strength from her faith.

The perspectives of Australian women were also shared. Dr Sarah Abdo, a specialist endocrinologist, spoke about how she has felt compelled to combine her Palestinian heritage with her role as a healthcare professional, the double standards that are applied to speaking out against the genocide taking place in Palestine, and why we cannot be afraid to speak out against injustice. Farah Abdurahman, a former political reporter with almost 20 years of media and communications experience, shared her experiences on the media response and the severe consequences of speaking up, and how she has drawn strength from her own South African background. The event closed with the powerful piece “Broken Arabic” by Amal Kassir, a poem for the diaspora child, who could never grieve in the language of the homeland but tries anyway.

This International Women’s Day marked a call for solidarity, not tokenism. We urged individuals and organisations to stand with us in honouring the faith, strength and courage of women who continue to fight for justice and equality in the face of adversity.

This “Seeds of Resistance Preliminary Report” is now available online for everyone to read and download.

Full webinar recording is available here:

Individual presentations are available here: COMING SOON   

Keynote presentation by Dr Helen McCue is available here: COMING SOON

Seeds of Resistance Preliminary Report available here:

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