Gurwinder Kaur is the PA to Addi Road’s CEO Rosanna Barbero. She’s also our Office and Venues Manager. Any problems, communications, uncertainties, promises or needs… from a broken tap to a visit from the Prime Minister, the thinking in the office usually boils down to “better check with Gurwinder”. She is someone who does the work of ten people – then returns to help others. A dynamo behind the whole place lighting up and happening.
When Gurwinder hears that it will be soon be International Women’s Day she has a laugh and speaks out in her usual frank way: “Every day is women’s day,” she says. “We just have to remind the dickheads.”
She laughs at that and says, “It’s true! Women work very hard everywhere, all the time in our world. Why this special day… this day and that day and this day. Why do we have to remind anyone?” She waves her hand, smiles again, shakes her head.
Back in India, she graduated with two degrees – a Masters in Criminology and a Masters in Political Science. When Gurwinder arrived here over a decade ago she then took up a commercial cookery course “just to get settled in Australia” before adding to the qualifications she could get recognised here by doing a Business Studies Diploma.
It was after all that she finally came to work at Addi Road. Last year, as part of her venue management role, she was very happy to facilitate an Australian Citizenship ceremony where she was both the main organiser and one of the people becoming a citizen.
“I found a place here at Addi Road,” she says emphatically. “Like my home, like my village. A place where I feel connected with a community.”
“The multicultural people that come here make me feel good. I learn every day from them. It’s something I really want to talk about and share: how there are all these different people coming to Addi Road; how much it inspires me, especially the powerful women that are around me all the time in this place.”
“They give me strength to fight for rights and freedoms,” Gurwinder says. “You know, I was not that strong when I first came to Australia. I did not know my rights. I did not know how to deal with difficult people. In India, you are taught to be a housewife, to serve the family… this is how it is for women. Now I am independent. I feel strong. I don’t need people around me. I like my own company.”
“I love all the women of world. I feel for them and their struggles. How they work hard. How they look after the house, how they look after family. How they run companies too. How they fly a plane. All these women. They do so much. They are very strong people. When I think about International Women’s Day, I think about every day, and what I feel is in my heart while I am working too.”
“So I don’t want to say something just for the sake of it and for one day only. International Women’s Day is a reminder of every day. It’s reminder to me of the strong women who have helped me and who I have learnt from along the way. The women who still inspire me and help me now. All these amazing women around me at Addi Road and everywhere. I see them and I feel them.”