Celebrating Change and Championing Gender Equality: Highlights from the International Women's Day Lunch by The Women's Foundation

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong was abuzz with anticipation as The Women's Foundation hosted its International Women's Day Lunch. This gathering of over 400 attendees was a luncheon and a vibrant forum for fostering discussions on gender equality, celebrating achievements, and planning the course for future advocacy.

The "Curating Culture, Inspiring Change" event commenced with heartfelt speeches from Benji Li and Karndeep Singh of The Women's Foundation Young Allies Program. They emphasized the critical role of allies in championing gender equality, highlighting the program's success in engaging young men to combat gender-based stereotypes and become proactive advocates for change. Their message was clear: the future of gender equality rests on empowering today's youth to become tomorrow's leaders.

Over 400 attendees attended the International Women's Day Lunch by The Women's Foundation

The "Curating Culture, Inspiring Change" event commenced with heartfelt speeches from Benji Li and Karndeep Singh of The Women's Foundation Young Allies Program.

Welcoming remarks were provided by Alyson Hau, a renowned Radio Presenter, Producer, and Voice-Over Talent, and Angela Mackay, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at the Financial Times. Both underscored the importance of community engagement, media, and sponsorship in supporting women's empowerment and gender equality.

Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women's Foundation, delivered opening remarks that set the tone for the day. She outlined the Foundation's mission to challenge gender stereotypes, empower women in poverty, and advance women leaders. Fiona's proclamation, "'With action and persistence, change is not only possible, it's unstoppable,'" served as a rallying cry for all present, reinforcing the belief that gender equality can be achieved within our lifetime.

Fiona Nott, Chief Executive Officer at The Women's Foundation

The luncheon's keynote panel featured Camille Cheng, Olympic swimmer and co-founder of Mind the Waves; Daisy Yiyou Wang, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum; and Septime Webre, Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Ballet, moderated by Isabel Berwick of the Financial Times. Their candid discussions on overcoming challenges, fostering resilience, and advancing gender diversity and inclusion in their fields were punctuated by powerful quotes:

  • "Speak up and ask for what you deserve," and "Making sure what you're doing is impacting those around you," by Septime Webre, emphasized the importance of advocacy and purpose in one's actions.
  • "Don't underestimate the power of your voice," and "don't be afraid to dream big," by Camille Cheng, highlighted the strength found in self-belief and ambition.
  • "Thinking locally is really important," by Daisy Yiyou Wang, reminded attendees of the impact of local actions on global change.

These reflections not only shared personal journeys but also served as a call to action for attendees to bring about change in their own communities and fields.

The event also spotlighted the English for Good initiative, featuring an emotional account from student Zoey Chen and her mentor and tutor, Raven Tao. Zoey's story of gaining confidence through mentorship captured the essence of the program's impact, showcasing the transformative power of support and encouragement.

In a final act of solidarity, the luncheon concluded with a pledge drive led by Daniella Lopez and Ewan McAllan, raising over 500,000 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) for the Foundation's initiatives. This collective effort underscored the attendees' commitment to supporting gender equality and empowerment.

As the International Women's Day Lunch came to a close, it was clear that the event had not only celebrated the progress made towards gender equality but had also ignited a renewed dedication to continue this vital work. The powerful quotes and stories shared served as a reminder of the strength found in community and the unstoppable force of collective action towards achieving gender equality.