International Women’s Day was celebrated at the Residence of the High Commissioner of Cyprus, H.E. Mr 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; however, it was only in 1975 that the United Nations adopted International Women’s Day on 8 March.

The theme chosen by the Association for 2024 is “Inspire Inclusion”. This means everyone is welcome, regardless of gender or gender identity, to celebrate the progress that women have made towards equality and to acknowledge 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 being used is purple, as 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, it represents the feminist movement.

H.E. Mr Antonis Mandritis welcomed guests and thanked them for their attendance. He explained the use of female contexts in languages, followed by the olive tree, which symbolizes peace.

H.E. Mr Mandritis went on to say that, when referring to conflicts in the world, “there are only two words, justice and peace, this is the answer to International conflicts.”

Ending on a lighter note, guests were told about Aphrodite, the beautiful Greek goddess of beauty, love, and fertility, who was born in Cyprus. It is claimed that she rose out of the foam near a rock off Aphrodite’s Beach.

Guest speakers included Ms Karen Appelbaum, who is a clinical psychologist and sociologist with extensive academic and clinical experience in behavioral sciences. Her special interest in women’s health and, in particular, breast and gynecological cancers, 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 and appreciate his creativity. Sitting in the garden under beautiful trees and with magnificent flower arrangements on the tables, guests listened to various speeches in support of organizations like Hospivision, which was established in 1997 and founded by Faith-Based Organizations and churches in the Moot area in Pretoria to support patients in the Pretoria Academic Hospital through spiritual care, counseling, and physical support.

Women Against Rape (WAR) was founded by Janine Rowley. She and her team walk alongside rape victims, abused and molested children, and adults in South Africa to bring comfort, care, education, and upliftment.

Lastly, the Modern Renaissance Arts and Culture Association, a non-profit organization where Costa Constantinou is President, shared what they do, which includes educating, promoting, and supporting the Arts and culture.

Happy Women’s Day 2024.

by Marion Kate