GALLIA — After two months of meetings, Leading Appalachian Women (LAW) is still finding its feet. But Megan Lawhon, the group’s founder, is pleased with the group’s progress so far. She began LAW based on the philosophy that Appalachian women can — and should — be empowered through knowledge. With this in mind, she began to reach out to like-minded women in the area to help her organize meetings and to get the word out.
“This area can feel very isolating sometimes,” Lawhon said. “The whole idea is to get a bit information to women in the community, and discuss things that perhaps aren’t normally discussed, and help women to make better-informed choices.”
Lawhon said that the group welcomes women of all ages, interests and situations. Although the first organized event, scheduled for June 14, is a breast-feeding forum led by Cassie Meek of the Athens LaLeche League, Lawhon wants to emphasize that the group aims to cover a wide variety of subjects important to women.
“It isn’t all pregnancy and childbirth,” Lawhon noted, “We’re planning to cover topics such as speech development in kids, personal finace and budgeting, mental health, education and more. Anything that women tend not to get a lot of information on.”
Jennifer Riegel, member, added that the group is also meant to provide a sense of community for women who are at different stages in their lives.
“Our lives have different seasons, and we want to connect with women who are having similar experiences,” Riegel said, “It’s about finding people to share those seasons with.”
Lawhon said that although LAW is still small, she has seen that it has already generated interested in the area, and not just in Gallia County. She has had inquiries from women in Jackson, Meigs and Athens.
“Hopefully we’ll involve more people once we start holding some forums,” Lawhon said. “If nothing else, the group will provide a way to connect with people who are in similar situations. There aren’t many activities for women outside of religion. This provides a connection.”
LAW has begun to spotlight the achievements of women in the area by celebrating a Leading Appalachian Woman of the Week. Some of those nominated so far are Celeste Nolan of Laurel Valley Creamery, Rhonda Pitchford of Honeycreek Barbeque and Delphine Silvermoon of Silvermoon Midwifery.
Leading Appalachian Women will hold its first forum, a breastfeeding discussion led by Cassie Meeks of LaLeche League, at 6:30 p.m., Friday June 14, at the Rio Grande Municipal Building. Meek will focus on general breastfeeding information, as well as public nursing rights.
Regular meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Meeting locations currently vary. Those interested in obtaining more information about the group and to find out meeting venues may visit its Facebook page, or contact Lawhon directly at 740-709-1322.