Women of Toledo strives to educate, engage, and empower local women

March is Women’s History Month
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 8:05 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - March is Women’s History Month, and one local organization is looking to educate, engage, and empower women in our area.

Women of Toledo started as a focus group in 2014 when Nina Corder decided she wanted to study more about community organizations and how they were structured. The group grew into something much bigger when its participants saw the need for a woman-based organization that would focus on economic development and inclusion.

“We found that within networking groups, you tend to see a lot of the same type of people, but obviously, in Downtown Toledo and in the surrounding area, we have a lot of underserved and underrepresented communities,” said Women of Toledo Associate Director Sierra Ortiz.

According to Women of Toledo’s website, the non-profit now offers programs and services to help tackle issues critical to women’s economic advancement. One of those programs is “Her Hub.”

“You can practice your elevator speeches; you can make connections; you can meet with other local woman-owned businesses in the area and kind of see what they’re doing, get ideas. It’s a great way to collaborate,” said Ortiz.

Women of Toledo have helped countless women in Northwest Ohio, including Rita Jassal. Jassal is the owner of Bombay Kitchen on Monroe Street. She had no business experience when she decided to open her restaurant.

“I was a stay-at-home mom and always wanted to open a restaurant. That was my dream, but my husband was in medical college, and we had kids,” said Jassal.

When her family moved to Toledo, Jassal decided to pursue her dream. However, Bombay Kitchen was forced to curb its dine-in service when the pandemic hit.

According to Jassal, her restaurant would have had to close its doors if not for Women of Toledo.

“Anything I needed help with, loans, directions, where do I reach out to go to events, they just have all been there for me, and they have supported me this whole time, and only for them, I am still here,” said Jassal.

Women of Toledo is hosting an International Women’s Day Forum on Wednesday, March 8th. It will occur from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Toledo. You can RSVP on the Women of Toledo website.

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