The Cowra Evening Branch of the Country Women’s Association was honoured to host a dinner on Wednesday 8 March at the Cowra Services Club celebrating the upcoming Festival of International Understanding guest nation, the Republic of Belarus.
The tables were decorated with the flags of Belarus and Australia with the centrepiece being the cornflower, national flower of Belarus. The pupils of Cowra Public School provided stunning table placemats depicting national treasures and facts about the guest nation.
Evening Branch President, Judy Houghton invited Mayor, Bill West to open the function, after which Judy introduced our guest nation speaker Mrs Lilia Malinovskaya, wife of the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus. Lilia (as she requested to be addressed as), was accompanied by Maxim, third in charge at the Belarusian Embassy and also Lilia’s interpreter for the evening.
Being International Women’s Day, Lilia focused her very informative address on the equality of the the modern-day characteristics of the Women in Belarus evolving from “the concept of equality for women first developed and substantiated in the late 16th Century.” Lilia explained that there is an expectation of the Belarusian men to present the women in their lives with a gift on International Women’s Day.
Lilia informed that in 2000, 53% of the Belarusian population was female. Lilia was proud to explain that women hold high positions in Health, Education, the Universities, and in Politics and Parliament. The population of Belarus is still less than the pre-World War 2 period. With the necessity to increase their population, the Government of the Republic of Belarus offers $10,000 for the third child in the family unit and each following live birth, with three years paid maternity leave.
Lilia finished her presentation and giving members of the audience the opportunity to ask questions. Also present at the dinner was Youth Ambassador, Patrick Ryan. Patrick is sponsored by PCYC and gave a passionate and humorous presentation about his chosen charity.
Mrs Rowena Casey thanked Lilia and Maxim for a most enjoyable evening and presented Lilia with a gorgeous bouquet of Australian native flowers and a hamper of local Cowra produce. The ladies of the Evening Branch appreciated the attendance of members, partners and those of the Cowra Community. The next meeting of the Cowra CWA Evening branch is on Wednesday, April 12 at 6.30pm. New members are always welcome.