Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) New England celebrated International Women’s Day at the Senior Center in Northborough, MA today with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. We had huge participation from Veterans & Senior Citizens, including dignitaries of different faiths and cultures as well as members of the Indian community from New England.

Mrs. Shova Sharma, FIA Vice President, along with Attorney General of Massachusetts Ms. Maura Healey’s special representative Nicolás Dueñas commenced the event by felicitating all the senior women with flowers. A gourmet lunch was catered for the senior members of the center and smiles across the room conveyed the message of appreciation and liking!

Ms. Eileen Bogleere, Director Veteran-Senior Center mentioned in her own words ‘When you don’t know what to expect during a cold day, but are then surprised by lunch and flowers… that makes it a super fund day’, with a smile on her face. Office of Attorney General, Maura Healey sent her words of appreciation and recognition to FIA, for hosting the event on this special day and coming together as a community to recognize distinct women leaders. Hannah Kane, State Representative, recognized the event hosted by FIA – “I am delighted to wish the FIA, as well as the entirety of the Indian American Community, a very happy International Women’s Day. I believe it is critically important to celebrate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women and I am very pleased to see the Federation’s event. As a strong advocate for the advancement of women and for women’s rights, I deeply appreciate the opportunity to shine a spotlight on gender equality and reproductive rights and to give voice to the ongoing need to curtail violence and abuse of women”.

Mrs. Shova Sharma, in her address conveyed how community women are coming forward, motivating and uplifting each other. Mrs. Sharma, along with, FIA Event Chair Mrs. Mukta Munjal and FIA volunteers, Geena Virmani and Kajal Dixit, honored distinct women community leaders, including Ms. Jasmin J Oritz, Ms. Chitra. N. Javdekar, Ms. Shefali Kalyani, Ms. Pratibha Shah, and Ms. Eshita Chakrabarti. FIA, NE executive team has conferred a certificate of appreciation recognizing their achievements.

The highlight of the event was a panel discussion with women from different walks of life, moderated by FIA volunteer, Neha Kaushal engaging the audience. International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th across the globe, to spread the message of gender equality, celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in different spheres, and work towards building a society free of all gender biases, stereotypes, gender parity and discrimination. The discussion included meaning of International Women’s Day, overcoming gender bias still prevalent in our society, and women privileges in developed versus developing countries.

The audience loved the insightful discussion and the shared experiences. Shefali Kalyani, founder and owner of non-profit organization, “We Care Charity”, mentioned how in her experience in helping the homeless in New Hampshire, found that men were always kind and compassionate towards women living under similar circumstances. Jasmin J. Ortiz, realtor with Gallagher Real Estate, mentioned how we still have a long way to go to have a society free of gender biases.

At the end of the event, Mrs. Shova Sharma thanked our esteemed panelists, the senior center staff and all FIA volunteers, who could make this event successful.

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