Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women of Independence : Day 1

Yesterday was International Women's Day. It was all over the radio. This year I had the opportunity of coming to this yearly event, Women of Independence. Shell sent 30 of us from all business in Peninsular Area. This is where leading women all accross the world were gathered to give their thought and shared their both success and war stories to inspire the participant. I got to know about this conference last year but after the seminar had passed. This year I grabbed the opportunity as soon as the email notification came out.

Its a 2 days agenda. First day today, I did not sleep a wink, not even dozed off. All the speaker were very remarkable women in their own rights. All together there are 7 speakers today, namely a Shell alumni, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, who is now heading the Securities Commission, glad that I at least spend 2 minutes personally to get her words of wisdom. The Chairperson encouraged the participant to reflect after each speaker had finish, what is our one action plan, that is realistic to be achieved in the next week, or in the next month. I thought that was easy but boy was I wrong. After hearing those inspiring women struggle in their own rights, it hard to put ideas into just one action.

The most moving speaker was Houzan Mahmoud. She is an Iraqi, her topic was Voice of the Voiceless : Tokenism or Activism,Exposing Gender Based Violence in Iraq. She spoke about her background being raised in the reign of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, the consequences of foreign interference (USA and its allies) in Iraq, and how Iraqis are living to-date. Sad to say in a war torn country, human rights no longer exist. Even though the west influenced media such as CNN and BBC applaud US 'assistance' to free Iraq from Saddam, they only created much more problems. Iraq is to date second highest corrupted country next to Somalia who is leading the top spot.

Such chaos has disabled a country to function properly, and with that the people has no rights at all. She brought tears to our eyes when she mentioned about human trafficking, parents resorting to selling their kids for prostitution for living, and many other injustice conducted. At that moment it hit me, we are too wrapped in our problem that the order of magnitude is way below than what other people across the world is facing. We complaint about our government, but how many of us actually do something? She is a political refugess, having lived in UK and all over the world, she still doing work to help the people of her country, fighting for their rights, urging the government to take action on all of the issues mentioned above. And, we complacent in our current situation, what are we doing? Nothing!!

She did said that what she and her friends is doing, its not a profession, its not a work, but its a cause. She lives for a cause to make her country as equal as other country, where people irregardless gender, race and any other diversities gets equal opportunity as the rest of the world. Do you have a cause for living?

p/s: my boss let me come on condition that I share this back with the rest of SWAN colleague back in PD. One of the reason I was paying very much attention, but its a blessing in disguise, I am truly glad that I came.


  1. Azita,

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

    "Do you have a cause for living?" ---> Hmm.. sadly I can't think of any right now. But your post makes me wanna have one... even if it's a tiny miny one. It's a start. :)

  2. Aida, I too thought I have a cause for living, but its actually more of responsibility. Have to dig deeper within me to find one. *mode serious* :)


“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." ~ William Arthur Ward...

So what say you? ;)