My speech which was read out on my behalf for the Darwin Greek Community International Women's Day Event 2019:
How do you know if you inspire people?
Or that you inspire change?
For me it was visiting Darwin for a wedding and I was standing outside the Greek church and a young Greek girl approached me and asked me if I was ‘that nurse and paramedic that was on the tv and in the newspaper’. When I replied ‘yes’ her eyes lit up and she said, ‘I want to be just like you and be a Nurse and a paramedic and help people around the world’.
It was coming up the escalators in casuarina on a Friday night and having a woman stop me and say ‘I have been following what you do, and I think you are amazing, my daughter wants to become a nurse too, and I showed her the articles and the work you have done. She will have to go away for her training and I will miss her but if that is what she wants then she has to go.’
Something I have learnt is that if you change a girl’s thought process, and you encourage her so that she believes that she CAN, then she WILL succeed.
I want you to look at the women sitting on the panel today and I want you to celebrate them! They are Business owners, they are Managers, they are Professionals, they are academics, they are mothers and grandmothers and They are ‘change makers’ for the Greek Community of Darwin.
I want you to look around the room at all of the amazing women in our community and I want you to celebrate all of them. As women we should be boosting each other up and not pulling each other down.
Choose your tribe! These are the women in your life that celebrate you and support you and want the best for you. Surround yourself by YOUR tribe. I want you to look at the women on the panel again, because these women are MY tribe! Each woman is someone that I want to aspire to be like, each woman has been an active member in our Greek community and has fought to make changes so that it is much better for all of us to be a part of.
If you are a woman that is sitting on a board or in management in your workplace, then pull a fellow sister up and empower her so she can sit beside you. Facilitate her so that the difficult journey that you had getting there will not be so difficult for her. If you see a woman with potential in your workplace then encourage her and guide her, so she can be empowered, and she will succeed.
To any men that may be in the room, we honor and celebrate you too. You are our fathers, you are our brothers and you are our husbands. We rely on you to set an example, when you witness bad behavior towards women by the men in our community, stand up and call them on it to change that behavior. We rely on you to see our potential as women in the workplace or in the community and to mentor us, so as women, we too can sit in a position where our voices can be heard. We rely on you to raise the young boys in our community to respect us as women so when they become men they will value what we say and what we do. Women and Men need to work together as ‘change makers’ so that gender equality in our Greek community can be achieved.
The next time you are at the Greek school here in Darwin I want you to take a close look at the children. There is a little girl that goes to that school that is our future leader of the Greek community, she is our future supreme court judge, she is our future Prime Minister, she is our future Doctor, she is our future CEO of a company, she is our future emergency service personnel, she is our future business owner and she is a future mother. She is our future and she is waiting to be inspired by you!
My name is Helen Zahos, I am a proud Greek- Australian Territory Woman and I cannot be there to join you, but for this International women’s Day, I celebrate you all!