Lebo residents advocate for women’s health

A longtime Mt. Lebanon resident combines her love of music and the need to fund improvements in women’s healthcare by volunteering for Pittsburgh’s Women Who Rock board. 

Women Who Rock 2024 lineup, featuring headliner Melissa Etheridge

“Two things I’m very passionate about are female health and music,” said Marianne Karlovich, MacArthur Drive. “We’ve had a lot of fun doing what we do, and I think that even makes it more special.” 

Rocker Melissa Etheridge will headline the board’s signature event–the seventh annual Women Who Rock show–August 28 at Stage AE.  

Karlovich has worked on other fundraising efforts for beneficiary Magee Women’s Research institute. The board creates promotional materials and even received a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh declaring that August 23 is “Women Who Rock Day.” 

Melinda Colaizzi, founder of Women Who Rock, says women’s health needs are underfunded and understudied, which is why her organization hosts the annual benefit concert. Colaizzi describes the event as “so much more than a concert,” because it shines a light on the disparities women face while seeking healthcare. 

“Women weren’t even included in any type of medical research or clinical trials until 1993,” said Colaizzi. So, “We partnered up with Magee Women’s Research Institute, which is based in Pittsburgh, our nation’s first and largest research institute dedicated solely to women’s health.”  

“There are all these stupid things happening with women’s health—being denied [access to] women’s health,” Karlovich said. “It’s important for us to take a stand and demand what is ours to decide. It’s nobody else’s decision.” 

Barb Stanny, Bower Hill Road, is another resident involved in the event and sits on the auction committee. Residents often see her wearing a Women Who Rock sweatshirt, adorned with a pink lightning bolt, on her daily walks through Mt. Lebanon. 

Women Who Rock merchandise features a pink lightning bolt, which Barb Stanny wears each morning.

“A lot of people in the area just call me lightning bolt lady,” Stanny said. “I’m always wearing my Women Who Rock [sweatshirt] every morning. Somehow it just caught on. They’ll say, ‘Here comes lightning bolt lady!’ and that leads to a 30–minute conversation.” 

Despite having “women” in the name, Colaizzi wants everyone, no matter how they identify or what kind of music they enjoy, to attend Women Who Rock. 

“It’s not limited to just rock music,” Colaizzi said. “It’s more of a sense of empowerment and I really want to make sure everybody knows it’s all ages and it’s all inclusive.” 

As attendees enter the venue, they’ll walk the pink carpet, hosted by local news correspondent Natalie Bencivenga. Other features include a photo booth, signature cocktails and a silent auction with autographed guitars and artwork. Tickets for the concert start at $59.50. 

Colaizzi noted that all proceeds from the auction go to Magee Women’s Research Institute. “It’s a very impactful thing that we’re able to do through the power of music.” 

Stanny emphasized the importance of all age groups being involved in events like these. “As an older, strong woman, it really makes me happy because I see the past in my own hands and its really remarkable to see this generation what they’re doing here now,” Stanny said. “I’m so proud to be a part of it. It’s just such a great fun, rewarding event.”