By Susan Karlin Rep. Maxine Waters, attorney Gloria Allred and actress Diane Lane were among the high-profile names who gathered Sunday at the DGA for the sixth annual International Women’s Day celebration.
The two-hour event honored an international holiday, little known in the United States, that raises awareness of women’s issues and societal contributions. It was organized by Beata Pozniak, the Polish-born actress best known for her work in "JFK" and "The Young Indiana Jones," who is spearheading efforts to formally establish the 85 year-old holiday in the United States.
"We hope that one day there will be no need to designate a women’s day," Pozniak said. "That there will be so much equality in the world, we won’t need it."
Mayor Richard Riordan has declared March 8 as International Women’s Day in Los Angeles. Four years ago, Congress passed a bill, authored by Waters, officially recognizing the celebration as a U.S. holiday; the president must approve the bill before the holiday can be added to the national calendar.
"Access Hollywood’s" Gizelle Fernandez hosted the event. Honorees and presenters included former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell, actresses Polly Draper and Shirley Knight, human rights activist Soraya Mire, musician Suzanne Teng and 105-year old Rose Freedman, a survivor of New York’s Triangle Shirt Factory fire.
The speakers drew attention to women’s issues such as child support and cultural gender barriers and read letters of support from Sen. Barbara Boxer and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Citing differences in how men and women navigate corporate and political arenas, Campbell said, "We’re playing the game differently (than men) and suffering because of it."
Women’s Day USA and the Commission on the Status of Women co-sponsored the event.