“When you think of all the amazing work that’s been done over the last 50 years for our gender here in the United States, there is still work to be done."By Andrea Alvarez

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A 110-year-old tradition was celebrated among groups all across Tampa Bay Monday. International Women’s Day was at the top of the list for hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners as these groups say they’re ‘choosing to challenge’ themselves.

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“I think as a gender, that’s half the battle is getting women to use their voice to talk about what’s going on in their own lives or in the their work lives,” said Jessica Rivelli, the Founder of Working Women of Tampa Bay.

Celebrations across the world continue to be recognized behind computer screens and smartphones in the year 2021. And in this aspect, International Women’s Day is no different.

“But also, how do we support each other and how do we raise each other up through using our voices,” she said.

What separates the globally recognized celebration on March 8th is the level of awareness right here in the U.S.

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“Here in the [United] States, it’s just starting to become recognized. In fact, my friends that are from Ecuador and Romania and some of these other amazing places around the world say that they get flowers on the streets and women and men alike wish them a Happy Women’s Day, so hopefully we’re bringing that tradition over here to the United States and celebrating more,” said Rivelli.

Rivelli and her team of entrepreneurs and business women from the Bay Area recognize the day’s importance every year as they come together for an annual luncheon.

“International Women’s Day does have an important message: women supporting one another and the entire gender being elevated. Celebrate themselves, celebrate their tribe, their sisters, their mom,” said Rivelli.

But because of the pandemic, Rivelli says the group celebrated a little differently this year hosting dozens of women looking for some inspiration. “We celebrated via Zoom, we heard some great keynote speakers, we raised some money and we supported women-owned businesses,” she said.

From topics of social, economic and cultural achievements to pay equality and a gender equal mindset, not to mention this year’s designated international theme being “Choose to Challenge”, Rivelli says she and the working women of Tampa Bay didn’t just take a look back Monday.

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“When you think of all the amazing work that’s been done over the last 50 years for our gender here in the United States, there is still work to be done,” she said. “But we also honor all the women that have helped to get us where we are and all the women who are going to help us get to where we are going. So that’s what the topic is all about and we’re so excited to have celebrated that today and it’s just been a fantastic day. Happy International Women’s Day.”