Melania Trump hosts International Women's Day luncheon, talks gender equality

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U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Sara Netanyahu speak after visiting the African American Museum of History and Culture. Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Melania Trump has made a White House appearance during the celebration of International Women's Day. The first lady hosted her first luncheon in the State Dining Room on Wednesday to honour women and promote gender equality.

"As an immigrant myself, having grown up in a communist society, I know all too well the value and importance of freedom and equal opportunity- ideals which this great nation was founded and has continued to strive towards throughout its history," Melania said based on the prepared remarks provided to CNN. The FLOTUS delivered her speech from a podium in the State Dining Room.

Melania said she believes education is the most powerful tool to safeguard the rights of women. With the help of UN Women for Peace Associates, the first lady was positive that the importance of tolerance can be reinforced and a society filled with inclusivity regardless of race, gender or culture can be achieved.

Her speech also focused on acts of violence women face around the world, such as human trafficking, forced enslavement, sexual abuse and absolute repression. She urges to remember these women in prayers and utilise combined resources to be able to grant them freedom from what she described as “unthinkable and inhumane circumstances.”

“Applause to all women around the world who speak up, stand up and support other women!” Melania tweeted last month. She used the hash tags #PowerOfEveryWoman and #PowerOfTheFirstLady.

The luncheon was attended by first daughter Ivanka Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, GOP Sen. Susan Collins, second lady Karen Pence and her daughter, Charlotte Pence. Fashion designer Rachel Roy was also in attendance.

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made a brief appearance to the event. "Pleasure to be at lunch hosted by @FLOTUS & @SecondLady honoring #IWD2017. Thanks to the inspiring women paving the way to a better future," the Vice President tweeted.

Menu for the luncheon includes tomato mozzarella salad, thyme-brined chicken, spinach gnocchi, honeycrisp apple crostata and white wine. The tables are decorated with oversized purple floral centrepieces with tulips and sweet peas.  Per a program, a 2015 Pride Mountain Viognier "Sonoma” was also served.

In other news, the White House announced that the Trump administration will continue the annual East Egg Roll on the South Lawn. The event, which was set on April 17, is expected to be the next major White House appearance of the first lady.