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Asian women's mark on South Australian life

Tuesday November 8, 1994 Media Release by Rosemary Cadden

The rich and diverse contributions to the economic and social development of South Australia made by more than 50 Asian women who have come to live in South Australia are told in a new book to be launched tonight (Tuesday).

The profiles in Our voices are testimonies of the struggles and achievements of Asian women in our society, said the President of the Asian Women's Consultative Council of SA Inc., Hean Bee Wee.

The book is the Council's contribution to the celebration of the Women's Suffrage Centenary of South Australia.

Our voices will be launched at a multicultural event in Chinatown in Moonta Street, Adelaide, which will include an Asian dinner, and entertainment including the Balinese weaving dance, the Chinese Jasmine dance, and songs by Akhter Jahan Rahman and her ensemble, who perform both North Indian and Western classical and folk music.

AWCC spokesperson Kim Tolotta said the book aimed to highlight the achievements of Asian women whose contributions were often invisible and to provide role models for young Asian women in the community.

The book was inspired by a remark by the Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) Irene Moss who said: "Let us keep building our profile, making our voice heard and contributing to Australian society in whatever way we can."

One woman profiled in the book is Karobi Mukerjee, born and brought up in Lucknow in India, who emigrated to Australia with her family in 1969.

A lecturer at the University of South Australia, Karobi has also been involved with various community groups with a particular goal of enhancing the understanding the position of migrant women in Australian society.

She was the first President of the Asian Women's Consultative Council in South Australia and is Director of the newly established Centre for Cross-Cultural Awareness and Communication at the University of South Australia.

In recognition of her community involvement, Karobi was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.

Peggy Siujen Tong Barker was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Malaysia and arrived in Adelaide as a student at the University of Adelaide in 1963.

Peggy married an Australian and said she was "thrown into life in the outback" when she helped her husband manage a sheep station near Burra.

They both now run a financial planning practice in Adelaide.

Peggy says she would like to be a catalyst in helping South Australia establish a truly multicultural society which will have its own unique character.


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