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Monday, 18 February 2019
Page: 696

Mrs SUDMALIS (Gilmore) (13:34): March 8 is a significant date in the calendar of women. It is International Women's Day. It's a reminder to be part of the growing awareness of women around the world.

For me, today, this date has more relevance than ever. Following all the stories about women refugees in Jordan, Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh, in particular, I can only say thank you to our Australian government for all their initiatives in making the lives of women better, both internationally and domestically. I am proud that we, as a nation, are the founder of and largest donor to the United Nations Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund. During my travels I have been constantly reminded by conference statements, bronze statues and development aims that 'Women are People'. The life-size statues in Ottawa were challenging, to say the least.

As a consequence, in honour of my granddaughters, Sophie Mae and Eve Nellie, who are here today, and every granddaughter around the world, I say: be strong in being a woman. Don't ever let your compassion for others and your caring and sharing that your parents Romee and Barry are instilling in your characters be seen as a weakness! It is not; it's a reflection of your integrity and your love of others: it's a hidden strength.

May everyone's granddaughter grow in the knowledge of who they are! I hope each one can say, 'I am woman, I am good and I am proud!'