Women to celebrate International Women's Day in Lakewood Ranch

Inspiring lunch promotes empowerment and gender equality

kmoschella@bradenton.comMarch 5, 2014 

Women from the Sarasota/Bradenton area gathered last year to celebrate International Women's Day.PHOTO PROVIDED

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- While women across the world celebrate gender equality and empowerment on International Women's Day, women of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds will do the same at the Polo Grill & Bar.

The 14th Annual International Women's Day Luncheon will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, promoting the theme of "Women Inspiring Change: Locally and Globally."

As in years past, the celebration is being hosted by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the United States National Committee for UN Women, part of a larger independent nonprofit dedicated to supporting social, political and economic equality for women around the world. The chapter has more than 150 female members from all walks of life, many of whom have worked in education, community relations and overseas in international business, and a younger generation of teenagers from Sarasota high schools who are studying skills to build successful careers through the "Learners to Leaders" program.

"We're not a political organization. Rather, our mission is to empower women to take leadership roles in the social, economic and political realms of society," said Debby Jennings, vice president of programs for the Gulf Coast chapter. "Women are making gains today but we are still not paid the same, not respected as much as men, and we often don't get the same status in business as men."

This year's lunch will focus on women who have positively impacted the lives of other women through education and community relations. In doing so, they have broken down barriers and helped reduce violence against women, particularly rape and human trafficking.

Two young female students at Ringling College in Sarasota will share their hopeful story about the friendship they formed amid the hatred of their warring Bosnian and Serbian homelands, emphasizing the United Nation theme of political and human rights.

These transformational discussions are intended to inspire women locally to get involved.

"This year, our focus is on empowerment. We don't want women to just write a check; we want them to get involved and make a difference by making a change," Jennings said.

RSVP: Call 941-744-6419 or email debbyjennings@msn.com.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter@MoschellaHerald.

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