/ 3 March 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day at the High Commission of Cyprus 

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Supporting the inclusion and empowerment of women 

International Women’s Day was celebrated at the Residence of the High Commissioner of Cyprus, Ambassador Antonis Mandritis, together with the Modern Renaissance Arts and Culture Association on 2 March 2024. 

The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, but the United Nations only adopted International Women’s day on 8 March in 1975. The theme chosen by the Association for 2024 is “inspire inclusion”, which means everyone is welcome, regardless of gender or gender identity to celebrate the progress that women have made towards equality, and to remember how much further there is to go. When men are willing to use their gender privileges to support gender equality it is a welcome amplification of women’s voices. 

The colour selected is purple, and the reason behind this is the Women’s Social and Political Union in the United Kingdom started using purple, green and white to symbolise equality. Purple denoted justice and dignity and is now used to represent women. Green is a symbol of hope. Today, purple is the colour of International Women’s Day, and combined with green represents the feminist movement. 

Mandritis welcomed guests and thanked them for their attendance. He explained the use of female references in various languages, and said that the olive tree symbolises peace. Regarding conflict in the world, he said: “There are only two words, justice and peace, and this is the answer to international conflicts.”

On a lighter note, guests were told about Aphrodite the beautiful Greek goddess, symbol of beauty, love and fertility, whom it is believed was born in Cyprus — it is claimed that she rose out of the foam near a rock off Aphrodite’s Beach. 

Guest speakers included clinical psychologist and sociologist Karen Appelbaum, who has a special interest in women’s health and, in particular, breast and gynaecological cancers, which drew her to the discipline of psycho-oncology, in which she has worked for the last 18 years.

Talented artist Dewald Fourie showcased his art at the residence for guests to peruse. Sitting in the garden under beautiful trees and with magnificent flower arrangements on the tables, guests listened to various speeches in support of organisations like Hospivision, which was established in 1997 and was founded by faith-based organisations and churches in Pretoria to support patients in the Pretoria Academic Hospital through spiritual care, counselling and physical support. 

Women against Rape (WAR) was founded by Janine Rowley. She and her team bring comfort, care, education and upliftment to rape victims and abused children and adults. Lastly Costa Constantinou, President of the Modern Renaissance Arts and Culture Association, shared what the NPO does, which includes educating, promoting and supporting arts and culture. 

Happy Women’s day 2024.