March 8 Is International Women’s Day 


Here’s a Pacific Palisades Connection

International Women’s Day (IWD) had its first gathering on March 19, 1911, supported by more than a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In 1913, the day was moved to March 8. After woman gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was adopted by the United Nations in 1975.

This year the 2019 Campaign Theme is #BalanceforBetter. No one was more active in promoting the day than Pacific Palisades’ Maryam Zar, who is a member of the L.A. City Commission on the Status of Woman.

Maryam Zar is on the L.A. City  Commission on the status of  Women.

Zar, who grew up in Iran, came to the United States in 1979, receiving an undergraduate degree from Boston University and a law degree from Pepperdine. She worked as an advertising executive, a newspaper editor and a correspondent for MEED and GMR.

She currently chairs the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) and was the Founding Chair of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and is a tireless advocate for ending female homelessness.

Her schedule this past week included a screening of the film “The Girls,” which depicts the realities of young women in a traditional society–provincial cities across Iran–at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica on March 5.

Two days later Zar moderated a panel of female consuls at a luncheon hosted by the L.A. World Affairs Council.

Panelists included: 1) Consul General of Greece Evgenia Beniatoglou, who studied law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and has a master’s degree in European Union Law from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Beniatoglou served her country in the Middle East and in 2016 was appointed diplomatic advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister;

2) Consul General of Ecuador Ivonne Guzman, who started as a journalist in 1994, and from 2007 to 2018 was an Op-Ed columnist for El Comercio, until she switched to diplomacy; and

3) Ambassador Lamia Mekhemar of Egypt, who was the head of the Department of Political Planning and International Crises Management at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before her current position. Mekhemar served in the United Nations, where the lawyer’s concentration was on International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.

On Friday (March 8), Zar joined with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Nury Martinez to unveil the City Hall Bridge Art. The installation will be up for the month of March and is sponsored by the LA Commission on the Status of Women. All art is from women who have experienced homelessness.

To celebrate the day, an event was hosted by Caruso’s Palisades Village. It began with wine given out at Botanica Bazaar, and then women walked to hear a panel discussion at the Bay Theater, where drinks and food were available for purchase. About 30 women attended.

The four-member panel was moderated by Laurel Mintz, founder of Elevate My Brand (digital marketing strategy). Participants included Leilani Bishop, co-founder of Botanica Bazaar (natural skin and health care), Gerta Tufvesson and Nikki Lewis, co-founders of BEVY (matchmaking) and Sarah Boyd, founder of Simply, Inc. (an agency that specializes in public relations, events and brand collaborations).

They answered questions posed by Mintz such as: 1) what was the best compliment you ever got as a girl boss? 2) what qualities to you have that are different than a male counterpart? 3) what’s your favorite word and why? 4) what’s a quick tip on how to empower yourself? and 5) what is one thing a woman could do to have an impact on gender inequality?

The panelists also discussed the imposter syndrome: basically, a woman feels like a fraud because she doubts her accomplishments, and this could be key reason for her lack of confidence.

Pacific Palisades Groza Learning Center sent out the following message on March 8: “Here’s to all the Incredible, Strong Women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”


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