Lunch with the ladies: Swanee Hunt at No. 9 Park

By Cathy Huyghe

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Tune into WGBH on any given day, and you’ll find a lot of amazing ladies.

Ladies taking on the news of the day.

Ladies who know their music.

Even ladies championing “nerd pride.”

And while all this is going on in Brighton, No. 9 Park restaurant on Beacon Hill invited ladies of its own last week with its Ladies Who Lunch series, welcoming Swanee Hunt, former US ambassador to Austria. Hunt was the fourth guest speaker in the series, addressing the professional women who had gathered in No. 9 Park’s dining room to socialize and network.

“It’s hard for us to get out and meet smart, professional women,” said chef-owner Barbara Lynch at the beginning of the lunch, which is why she and her staff initiated the Ladies Who Lunch series last year. The phrase “ladies who lunch” may conjure certain retro images, but this event clearly was not about conservative traditions.

It was about breaking them.

“The United States ranks 85th in the world in terms of women’s representation in Congress,” Hunt said in her address to the audience. ”You have to ask each other to run for Congress. I want every table in this room to nominate one woman to run. Politics is a nasty business, but we will have a different world if we go into a situation where women are affecting public policy.”

As No. 9′s staff served a three-course lunch, Hunt discussed her work: “I work in war zones, in 40 different conflict areas like Iraq, Haiti and Afghanistan,” she said. “Women reach across. Women know how much a bag of rice costs, and we know where the unhappy 18-year-old lives who’s sleeping with a machine gun under his bed.”

It was a powerful image from a powerful woman. How many of the women listening will become politically involved as a result of Hunt’s encouragement remains to be seen, but it is difficult to imagine any of us being unmoved by the idea.

Find out more about Swanee Hunt and No. 9 Park.

Cathy Huyghe writes the WGBH Foodie blog. Read new WGBH Foodie posts every weekday, in which Cathy explores myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.
 



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