AMHERST – Busy lives were put on hold and bizarre hats were worn for Cumberland County’s celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday.
Women and men from all over the county gathered at the Amherst Lions Club for the women’s day luncheon to reflect on women in their lives and all they have accomplished.
“It’s a day to celebrate women and all they’ve accomplished over the years,” said International Women’s Day committee member and executive director of Autumn House Terry Cove. “It’s a time to acknowledge that many women struggle, to talk about those struggles and continue our work to overcome the struggles.”
Cove was delighted to see many people from all over the county in attendance to help spread the message.
“We always have representatives from all over the community, young and not so young,” she said. “We always have a great turn out and this year, it’ll be the same.”
This year, the committee picked women in public office as the event theme, said Cove. The committee invited Oxford Mayor Trish Stewart to speak on behalf on women who work on town council and in other public offices.
“Stewart is the first female mayor in Oxford and we thought what a great opportunity it would be to have someone come and talk about what its like to be a public office and have a woman who represents other women’s interests and issues,” said Cove.
Stewart said being able to give a speech to other women about her successes and different responsibilities she’s now taking on as a new mayor was a proud moment for her.
“It makes me very proud,” she said. “It’s really overwhelming. I’m in awe (of the turnout). I can’t believe how many people, men and women, have showed up today. It’s fantastic.”
In keeping with last year’s theme, crazy hats representing all the different responsibilities and tasks each women deals with a regular basis, Stewart said she will be speaking to the crowd about her many different hats.
But the message of celebrating female accomplishments was certainly at the front of everyone’s minds during the luncheon.
“As women, we are celebrating ourselves,” said Stewart. “If I asked my grandmother about (International Women’s Day), she would probably say that it wasn’t that long before she was born that women didn’t have the right to vote. We have come a really long way and I’m proud of it.”