Honoring women’s contribution to diversity

YOUNGSTOWN — Through dance, music and food, the contributions by women to the diversity in the Mahoning Valley were showcased at the International Women’s Day hosted by the YWCA Mahoning Valley.

Leah Merritt, executive director of the YWCA, said the event brings together people of different cultures to experience different foods, dancing, music, costumes and customs from women worldwide.

“We had a trivia game about international women and some of the achievements made for women’s rights,” she said.

The dinner included ethnic foods from Spain, India, Greece and other countries.

“This is the third year we have held this event, which lets people experience the what other cultures have such as the food,” Merritt said.

Varada Bhide, event coordinator, said she saw a Facebook photo of women dressed in different ethnic outfits for an event.

“I thought this would be beautiful to have here. We had a vision to have a program here and get different cultures together to better understand each other. This area has so many cultural entities. It is important to bring them together and celebrate all the cultures,” Bhide said.

She said it is important to celebrate together so everyone could learn something new.

Molly Toth, public relations for YWCA, who asked the questions for the trivia game, said the event highlights the contributions of women from around the globe to our region, and highlights the music, dance, dress and cuisine of diverse cultures of the Valley.

Joy Tang, of the YWCA board of directors, said the entertainment portion of the event showcased the unique dancing and music styles from around the world.

Performances were from Mexico, Argentina, China, India, America and Native Americans.

“There were so many people who took part in this wonderful event,” she said.

There was also a cultural marketplace with vendors.

Event sponsors were the International Institute, a component fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, and Nancy K Morris Endowment Fund.