Around 300 women gathered for a celebratory lunch and entertainment at a Hindu temple to honour their tenth annual International Women’s Day celebrations on Saturday.

Young girls and women came together for traditional Indian cuisine at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Mandir Lane, Chigwell in honour of female empowerment and equality.

Guest speakers Epping MP Dame Eleanor Laing and director of technology and information of oneSource, Priya Javeri MBA, shared their experiences of working in male-dominated work industries.

Dame Eleanor said: “It is indeed a great pleasure to be back here at this wonderful temple. Let us concentrate on women on what women do in our society.

“We can look to a bright future where we as the female half of society now are in much better position than we have ever been before because there is now a critical mass of women in position of power and influence everywhere.”

“We will see huge differences from 10, 20 years ago. It is not those women in the positions we know about who matter most, its those making small incremental changes day by day.”

The Epping MP received a traditional garland in honour of her visit, who last came to the temple the same day her damehood was announced.

Mrs Javeri also echoed the importance of continuing to challenge of the stereotypical jobs and role of women and to pursue your passions in life.

The theme surrounding this years celebrations was ‘Reflect, Progress and Shine’ where guests where encouraged write and place notes onto a board sharing what inspires them.

Two of the ten hand-painted silk scrolls illustrating philosophical ideas created by members from the Neasden temple were also exclusively on display for the day.

A traditional dance and drama sketches depicting everyday women of today face with moral messages were part of the day’s entertainment.

Temple community members Purvi and Palak hosted the stages activities.

Purvi said: “It’s a chance for us to honour all women and their progress and to inspire change and inspire generations to come.

“This really is a huge milestone for us and we are immensely proud for all what we have achieve together in the last decade.”

Yoga expert and instructor Gita Patel also gave a live demonstration of exercises to improve women of all ages their physical abilities.

The afternoon concluded with a prayer for the 50 victims who were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand on Friday.