International Women’s Week 2018 : An evening of empowerment and eco-vision | Sunday Observer

International Women’s Week 2018 : An evening of empowerment and eco-vision

To celebrate International Women’s Week next month, Ladies VIP Night will organize an evening of ‘empowerment and eco vision - press for progress’ on March 7 at the Shangrila Hotel, Colombo. The event will feature presentations by TEDx Colombo Speakers and an Eco Chic Fashion Show.

According to worldwide information, women’s equality is still a long way off. There is a strong call-to-action to press forward and continue to progress Gender Parity. People around the world are mobilizing for a future that is more equal, working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realise their full potential. Hence the event will include a panel discussion on gender issues.

Event Producer, Latika Alok says, “International Women’s Day means different things to different people. For some women it’s a celebration, for others it’s a call for action to accelerate Gender Parity.

This year we would like to “Press for Progress” not only on gender equality but also on the importance of Sustainability and Recycling - creating awareness through our fashion industry with an Eco Chic Fashion Show. The evening is all about Empowerment, Inspiration and promoting Green Living”

There will be a panel discussion on ‘Gender Equality – Fact or Fiction?’

The panel comprises:

Selyna Peiris – TEDx Colombo Alumni, an attorney-at-law and Director of Business Development at Selyn Handlooms, Sri Lanka’s only fair trade guaranteed handloom company employing a majority of women

Sarinda Unamboowe – TEDx Colombo Alumni. He is the CEO of MAS Kreeda, heading Environmental Sustainability for MAS. He is a member of MAS’ Apparel Board and Innovations Leadership Team.

A Co-Founder of Trail ( and Around The Pearl (, he is also a published wildlife photographer.

Hans Billimoria – The Grassrooted Trust, works on sexual and reproductive health education and prevention of gender-based and partner violence, including sexual harassment in the work place.

Chandi Dharmaratne, Senior HR Director, Virtusa

The panel will be moderated by Aritha Wickramasinghe, an international banking lawyer, a founding trustee of the global education initiative Think Equal and the Director of Equality Law at legal pro bono platform iProBono. He is also a TEDx Alumni.

Shanuki de Alwis, TEDx Colombo Alumni, will do an introduction skit to the panel discussion.

She is the General Manager of Vision1, an international advertising agency and an actress. She is a part of Sri Lanka’s leading English theatre companies and is a choreographer and TV presenter.

Sustainability is a shared responsibility

Ladies VIP Night also believes in an eco conscious society. In collaboration with Saaraketha, an organic food company, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo will present an organic-inspired menu, using native Sri Lankan ingredients and heirloom recipes, interpreted in a contemporary manner.

Timothy Wright, General Manager and Vice President of Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo said, “We are proud to partner with VIP Ladies Night - Press for Progress as many aspects of the event align with Shangri-La’s own core values. In our recruitment drive to open Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo we sought to employ and empower women in multiple disciplines of the hotel.”

On the organic-inspired menu, Timothy said, “Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts own culinary sustainability initiative, ‘Rooted in Nature’, focuses on featuring the finest locally and ethically-sourced ingredients, toward a more responsible contribution to society as a whole.”

The evening includes an Eco-Chic Couture Fashion show. To help raise awareness of the importance of ethical fashion. Designers will showcase their specially created pieces. Fashion designers/houses include Amberry, Conscience, Charini, House of Lonali, Kanchana Fernando, Limka by Kamil,, Krishani Rathnaraja, Nithyarn Limited, Original Source and Supply, Romona Oshini, Sthri by Selyn. Ajai Vir Singh, the visionary and leader behind the Responsible Fashion Movement will be a special guest speaker talking about how his sustainable movement will press for progress for the fashion industry.

“There is so much knowledge available, yet the need is to act and create fashion products which are green conscious and earth sensitive. Everyone knows that the fashion industry has a negative impact on the environment. Can Sri Lanka take the lead through the Responsible Fashion Movement and show the region how knowledge can be converted into green thinking solutions. My heart is to involve more and more students into this program,” he said.

Ladies VIP Night continues to support local charities by seamlessly blending the opportunities to socialize and have fun whilst contributing towards building a stronger community. Ladies VIP Night will work with Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo to support Ceylon Fellowship of Service – Prithipura Home, where a proportion of the ticket value will be given to this charity.

Prithipura Home provides an environment from childhood to adulthood for approximately seventy mentally and physically differently-abled male and female residents. The home ensures a safe place for the special care and rehabilitation of its residents.

Linda Speldewinde, Entrepreneur and Founder of AOD Colombo, will toast women.“When speaking about equality, we hear a lot about the consequences of women but let’s also divert our attention to what women can cause, as equals in this world.

“I think it’s important to celebrate this aspect of equality too because women are not only casualties but also influencers, movers and shakers of everything that has shaped our world. We should celebrate fellow women on the inspiration, positivity and transformation that we have caused, and can cause, through our work, personas and lives,” she said.