International Women’s Day

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Celebration and Panel featuring women from around the world is March 8

A panel of women from around the world will share what they have learned and discuss advances and continuing challenges in achieving gender equity in their native countries as part of an International Women’s Day Celebration at UW-La Crosse.

The panel includes women from Colombia, Ghana, India and Romania. The free event begins with appetizers and a social at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in Hall of Nations, 1300 Centennial Hall. The program begins at 5:30 p.m., in 1400 Centennial Hall.

International Women’s Day is observed on March 8 in many countries throughout the world. The day celebrates social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity, according to the International Women’s Day website.

This year’s International Women’s Day comes at a time of heightened awareness of sexual harassment and assault against women. Worldwide marches and movements for change such as the #MeToo Movement in the U.S. and similar social media movements in other countries, have have drawn more attention to these issues.

Free event parking is available in Lot C10, at the corner of 16th and Vine streets. View the UWL campus map.

Panel speakers include:

Angela Amoako, Ghana
Amoako is a graduate student at UWL. She was born and raised in Ghana. At age 18 she left Ghana for the United World College for two years where she obtained an International Baccalaureate Diploma. From there, she made her way to the U.S. for her bachelor’s degree in biology and is currently working on a graduate degree in microbiology. Amoako has a passion for medicine and health care, and hopes to go to medical school after UWL. She looks forward to returning to Ghana to practice as a physician and be an agent of change on the African continent. Growing up in Ghana, her life experiences have been shaped and informed by the rich culture and heritage of Ghana.

Puja Mehta, India
Mehta came to the U.S. as a media and web design student in 2001. She completed her education in Chicago where she graduated with a Multi Media and Web design degree and won the best innovative portfolio award. After working in Chicago with a web design firm, she moved to La Crosse with her husband. She started her own web designing firm, but her cooking classes at The People’s Food Co-op gave her an idea of making meal kits to cook authentic Indian vegetarian food at home. She voluntarily closed her web design business and started an Indian Meal Kit business in 2016. Today she is selling her products in three grocery stores in the region. Puja has two daughters and a husband, who is also her business partner.

Lynda Crowley, Colombia
After separating from her first marriage, working as an insurance agent was a priority for Crowley in order to support herself and her two children. She is from Cucuta, Colombia, where the most important Colombian-Venezuelan border of Latin-American is located. The border area became economically depressed by the socio-political situation of Venezuela. She lived in Colombia until 2015. The love of her new husband, the fall of Venezuela’s economy, and the impetus to succeed motivated her to live in the U.S. Today she is a full-time Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate who works at New Horizons in Trempealeau County. In her spare time, she is a student at Western Technical College in the paralegal program.

Cristina Kovacs, Romania
Kovacs came to the U.S. in 2000 after being a winner of the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, or the “green card lottery.” She experienced both the communist and democratic regimes and was just 11 years old when the 1989 Anti-Communist Revolution took place in Romania. Kovacs left Romania in hopes of discovering new opportunities western life would offer in Detroit, Michigan. She has worked in office management both in the hospitality industry and public education. She moved to La Crosse in 2012 to follow her husband Attila Kovacs, a UWL exercise and sports science professor. She is a full-time real estate agent with Gerrard-Hoeschler Realtors and an outdoor enthusiast. She loves to travel the world because “one’s destination is not just a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Event sponsors include: American Association of University Women-La Crosse; Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration; Gundersen Global Partners; La Crosse Interfaith Justice & Peace Network; La Crosse Public Library; International Women’s Group of La Crosse; League of Women Voters-La Crosse Area; School District of La Crosse; UWL International Education & Engagement; UWL Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department; Viterbo University-International Student Services; Western Technical College; and YWCA-La Crosse.

If you go:

What: International Women’s Day celebration and panel
When: Social and appetizers at 5 p.m.; program at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8.
Where: Hall of Nations, 1300 Centennial Hall. The program is in room 1400.
To request disability accommodations (accessible seating, interpreting, closed captioning, FM systems, etc.), contact Miranda Panzer at or 608.785.8016.