Panel and Guests: Kiera Campbell, (Senior Prefect, Glenlola Collegiate), Kristyene Boreland (Singapore), Daniela Tarakova (Czech Republic), Barbara Boyle (Germany), Margaret Francey (Rotary President), Mayor and Rotarian Councillor Karen Douglas (Panel Moderator), Laura Finnegan (Mexico), Odalis Alvarado (USA), Jane Edge Deputy Head Girl, Glenlola Collegiate
To celebrate International Women’s Day Bangor Rotary Club held a conference to hear from a group of women from different parts of the world who now call Northern Ireland home.
The panel was made up of women from Czechoslovakia, Germany, Mexico, Texas and Singapore.
As well as Rotarians and their wives the conference was attended by members of Soroptimist, pupils from Glenlola Collegiate School and the Assistant District Governor of Rotary in Ireland Steven Costello.
Welcoming everyone to the conference the President of Bangor Rotary Club, Margaret Francey said as International Women’s Day this year fell on a Wednesday, the normal Rotary meeting day and as she was the first female President of the Club, she felt it appropriate to organise something to mark the event, with special emphasis on the international element.
International Women’s Day, she said, had been observed in some way or another since the early 1900s but it was not until 1975 that it was first marked by the United Nations. Then in 1977 the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming that a UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace should be observed by member states.
Each guest at the Conference was presented with a spray of Mimosa and the President explained that the flower represented International Women’s Day. It was chosen by feminists in Italy in 1946 to mark the first IWD after the end of World War Two.
She said it was sad to note that 77 years later we still had not got rid of war in Europe.
President Margaret went on to say that over the years the world had witnessed significant change in the situation of women and some may feel the battles have all be won. But, she added, ”we don’t have to look far to realise that is not the case”
“The most glaring example at present is Afghanistan but there is still much to do elsewhere as well”.
However, she said, the conference was to celebrate the achievements of the guest speakers and to learn a little more about their journey that brought them to Northern Ireland.
The conference was chaired by the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Karen Douglas, and each of the women spoke about their experiences of coming to Northern Ireland and how it differed from their own country.
One thing they all expressed was their appreciation for the warmth and friendliness of the people here.