ATLANTA — The International Women's Forum of Georgia hosted its fourth annual International Women's Day celebration, called "Women Leading Change," at the Georgia-Pacific Center Auditorium in Downtown Atlanta.

More than 200 women attended both in-person and virtually.

As Program Chair Amy Glennon explained, the event celebrated accomplishments made by women, and recognized the strides that still need to be made.

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"Women all over the globe are reaching heights that we may have never dreamed of," she said. "There are also enormous challenges and so many things that are hitting the world itself hit women that much harder.” 

Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur emceed the event.

"The idea is to nurture, mentor, support, and elevate women who are already succeeding and mentor other women, but also how can we get to the next stage? How can we amplify our voices, be heard, use our influence appropriately?" she asked. 

This year, speakers focused on different political, economic, legal, and healthcare issues that affect women, including the legal implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, and COVID-19.

“Statistics show us that women coming out of COVID were hit much harder," Glennon explained. "Their return to the workforce is much harder there. The economic impact was much harder. Climate change disproportionately affects women.”

IWF Georgia, which is a chapter of global organization The International Women’s Forum, was founded in 1988 following former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s hosting of the Women and the Constitution Conference at the Carter Center. 

The 15 founding members included Carter, Coretta Scott King, Shirley Franklin, Leah Ward Sears, Betty Siegel, Christine King Farris, and Liane Levetan. Other founding members were: Amanda Brown-Olmstead, Wicke Chambers, Alice Parsons, Judith Sans, Ruth Schmidt, Dayle (Powell) Spencer, Cathy Steinberg, and Betty Talmadge.  

Thursday afternoon, the women who showed up from all walks of life, hope to follow in their footsteps and continue the important work.

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“I am a woman, obviously, but I’m also African American and I’m Muslim and I was born and raised in the northeast, but made Atlanta my home," Abdul-Ghafur added. "There are some serious threats to our personal freedom, to our our ability to go to school, our ability to work, our ability to advance.” 

Globally, The International Women’s Forum has 7,500 members, and there’s about 250 women who are part of the Georgia chapter.