Diversity is centre stage for evening

From left, Sandra Davis, Sandy Wilks, Julie Pike, Irene Strange and Clair Woollard at the event marking International Women's Day
From left, Sandra Davis, Sandy Wilks, Julie Pike, Irene Strange and Clair Woollard at the event marking International Women's Day
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THE DIFFERENCES between women from cultures around the world is something to celebrate, not shy away from.

That was the message at a women’s dinner held at Fratton Park last night.

Around 120 women from across the city gathered in the Victory Suite at the football ground for an evening that blended cultures and allowed women to share their own individual experiences.

Guests enjoyed speeches, a dinner courtesy of the Akash restaurant, before joining with a traditional barndance.

The event coincided with the week of International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.

Organiser Rowshonara Reza said that celebrations like this were important for women everywhere.

She said: ‘There is a real variety of cultures and nationalities here this evening, which is wonderful.

‘I think it is very important to understand one another’s differences and welcome them, rather than hide from them.

‘For example, women in Islam have had the vote for 1,400 years, whereas it has only been 100 years here in the UK.

‘But differences aren’t always looked at in a positive light, and I think that understanding these differences is key to our society.

‘We are all here to have fun and enjoy ourselves, but there is a deeper meaning behind this evening,’

One of those who attended the dinner was Julie Crook, manager of the Fratton Community Centre.

She said: ‘At the community centre we also see a diverse range of people, so we are very interested in events like this.

‘If you don’t know the right people it can be tough to tap into certain demographics, so events like this are really important for breaking down barriers between different cultures.’

Claire Martin from Pompey in the Community said: ‘There are around 30 different nationalities among the 120 women here tonight, which is great.

‘I think it is really important to raise awareness of the differences in cultures between women across the world, but also to celebrate them.

‘To have things coincide with the week of International Women’s Day as well is something that is ideal for everyone.’