Minnie Baragwanath received her New Zealand Order of Merit for services to people with disabilities in 2014.

The former Palmerston North-raised and educated Baragwanath will be keynote speaker at Zonta Manawatū International Women's Day breakfast on March 6.

During Zonta International's centenary celebrations in late 2019, Baragwanath was recognised as one of 100 Women of Achievement in New Zealand for her leadership and advocacy for social change.

Baragwanath founded BeLab (formerly BeAccessible) in 2011.


The social change agency's vision was to change the way people think about disability and make New Zealand a world leader in access innovation.

Baragwanath is BeLab chief executive and leads a large Auckland-based team.

In 2013 she received a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, the MNZM in 2004, the Westpac Women of Influence Diversity Award in 2017 and was a finalist in the New Zealander of the Year.

International Women's day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Zonta Manawatū annually hosts a breakfast event to celebrate International Women's Day.

The event is attended by women and men from business, professions and community within the wider Manawatū, together with a large contingent of youth leaders from local secondary schools.

UNWomen Aotearoa has adopted the theme I am Generation Equality: Realising Women's Rights.

The year 2020 is a pivotal year for advancing gender equality worldwide, as the global community takes stock of progress made for women's rights since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995.


Zonta International is a global organisation for business and professional women and partners with UNWomen, globally funding service projects in some of the most changing and disadvantaged places in the world.

International Women's Day was officially established by the United Nations in 1987 to acknowledge the achievements and progress of women.

The origins of International Women's Day are in the women's rights and labour movements of the early 20th Century, when women marched demanding improved working conditions, health care, peace and suffrage.

To attend the Manawatū Zonta breakfast email: manawatu@zonta.org.nz