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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 March 2016
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016 A stellar debate dedicated to women Inspiring personalities offering Food For Thought on the road to gender equality NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU "When the Food For Thought Network (FFTN) was launched 15 years ago, I never imagined we would host such a large scale event on International Women's Day, but I certainly hoped we would." These were the enthused words of Varvara Ioannou, founder and president of the FFTN when she took to the stage to thank her esteemed speakers and guests at the Women Inspiring Women fundraiser event on Sunday 6 March. "A woman's voice can be as beautiful and powerful as any other quality; the challenge some of us face is finding the right platform to use that voice," Mrs Ioannou continued. "International Women's Day has become that platform for many people across the world. This year's global theme for International Women's Day is 'pledge for parity'." Framing the network's goal locally and in real terms, the president referenced the Australian government's workplace report on gender equality released in February, titled 'Gender Equity Insights 2016: L-R: Alexandra Douros, Maria Dimopoulos, Jenny Douros, Stephanie Woollard, Gillian Triggs, Jennifer Yang and Tasneem Chopra. Inside Australia's Gender Pay Gap'. The report highlights that, among top-tier managers in Australian organisations, men are paid on average $100,000 more per year than women. It also showed a measurable link between increasing gender diversity on boards and lower pay gaps for managers. "Now, it's accepted the more inspired and educated decision makers we have in the work force and in communities, whether they are women or men, the greater the opportunity we have for parity," Mrs Ioannou said. "The FFTN aims to empower, support, connect and sponsor women - it's a simple goal, but an important one; and that's because women play an enormous role in inspiring one another." In partnership with the Manningham City Council, the FFTN team worked to provoke distinguished speakers and inspire women from all walks of life and backgrounds through the seamlessly-organised event. With a panel consisting of Emeritus Professor and president of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs, who provided the keynote address, author, activist and chairperson of the Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights Tasneem Chopra, Manningham Mayor Jennifer Yang, Seven Women's organisation CEO Stephanie Woollard and gender equality advocate Maria Dimopoulos as MC, the discussion was a critical success culminating in 250 sold seats. The event had significant attendance, attracting audiences and community leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds. "The FFTN has always welcomed both women and men as our partners, contributors and friends," the president said, thanking the men in the room and adding that raising much-needed awareness about what prevents and assists women to succeed Food for Thought Network founder and president Varvara Ioannou. should be a combined effort. All the speakers shared stories from their personal journeys of empowerment at both a professional and personal level. Stories of gender and ethnic background discrimination and fights for equal pay urged women to stand up for themselves and not compromise. Meanwhile, event sponsoree Alexandra Douros, a remarkable 18-year-old student who in spite of being blind and suffering from cerebral palsy, received an ATAR of 92, gave a heartfelt and wise speech. Miss Douros, who has also been awarded for her work as an artist, brought the audience to tears when she revealed her secret to success. "When I start doing something, I don't do it to prove a point. My method is that I don't expect success," she said. "I also don't expect the world to come to me and understand me. I try to become part of the world around me just like everyone else." Three Greek Australian women recognised for their achievements Three Greek Australian women were recognised for their extraordinary achievements and hard work to date, by SA Weekend Magazine, which included them on its 'ones to watch' list. Orianthi Panagaris Eleni Glouftsis, 23, who became the first woman to officiate in a senior AFL match between Carlton and Essendon at Princes Park last month, was one of the three inspiring young women who made the list. So too was world-class violinist and former Young South Australian of the Year (2008) Niki Vasilakis. The mother of three has from a young age collaborated with some of the world's greatest musicians all around the world - from New York to London, Berlin and Paris, while one of the highlights in her career included her solo with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for an audience of more than 100,000 people in January 2004. Last but certainly not least in the prestigious list was the famous platinum-selling solo artist, singer-songwriter and guitarist, 31-year-old Orianthi Panagaris, who has performed with Santana, Alice Cooper, opened for Steve Vai, appeared at Eric Clapton's Crossroads and also at the 51st Grammy's alongside Carrie Underwood. Orianthi also performed with Michael Jackson and has released three studio albums as well as a number of singles. In 2009, Panagaris was named one of the 12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists by Elle magazine and has won an award as Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year (2010) by Guitar International magazine. She currently lives in the USA but visits her hometown of Adelaide regularly to perform and spend time with her family. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Victoria honours outstanding women Patti Manolis, one of the 20 women inducted on International Women’s Day ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Twenty outstanding women have been inducted onto the 2016 Victorian Honour Roll of Women, in celebration of International Women's Day. Among the hard-working, intelligent women elected was chief executive officer of the Geelong Regional Libraries Corporation, Patti Manolis. Nominated by local women's group Geelong Women In Local Democracy (WILD), the inductee told Neos Kosmos she was surprised to have been selected from more than 100 nominees. "I was really happy, and a little bit overwhelmed," Ms Manolis said of receiving the news. "I feel really privileged to have been acknowledged in such a formal way by state government, particularly by the Minister for Women, and to be in the company of the other women who have been inducted this year." Since coming on board, in her 10 years as CEO, Ms Manolis has managed to double funding into Geelong Regional Libraries, resulting in a marked improvement in both library services and the physical structure of existing libraries. Life-long learning programs have also been put in place for the community, along with the construction of new libraries and facilities. "It's quite a motivating award to get and wonderful that the public library dimension is being recognised Chief executive officer of the Geelong Regional Libraries Corporation, Patti Manolis. PHOTO: TWITTER (@GRLCCEO). as well," she said. Aside from her work with Geelong Regional Libraries, Ms Manolis is also president of Libraries for Timor-Leste, helping support the development of libraries in East Timor, and vice president of the Public Libraries Victoria Network Inc. She joins the ranks of more than 500 other Victorian women who have been inducted since the Honour Roll first began in 2001. An official ceremony took place on Tuesday 8 March at Federation Square, where Minister for Women Fiona Richardson presented the awards to a large gathering of the inductees friends, family and supporters. "Every woman on this list has an amazing success story to tell. I'm incredibly proud that we have such inspirational leaders and mentors paving the way for our next generation of Victorian women," said Ms Richardson. An annual opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the extensive and lasting contributions of women across the state, the list includes women from all sectors including lifelong advocates for women's rights, Aboriginal health, disadvantaged communities, prevention of family violence and leaders in education, media and law. Twenty impressive women being inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women on Tuesday. PHOTO: TWITTER (@OURWATCHCEO).
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