Starting with a kickoff luncheon Friday, the 13th annual Women! A Weeklong Celebration will give women of all ages a platform to talk about things that matter to them, said Teresa Taylor, who last week was putting the finishing touches on plans for the big event.

“Events,” Taylor said to clarify. “We’ve got 150 separate activities happening all over the city. There’s a lot of variety and a wide range of topics, so there will be something to appeal to everyone,” she said.

It’s so big that it has stretched from a week to 10 days — Sept. 19-28 — said Taylor, who earns her living as a professional organizer, headed the committee that began in January.

The week is a project of the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Taylor said, an organization that is celebrating its 20th year of focusing on issues that matter to women, and many of the activities this year will concentrate on women’s health and wellness.

In 2010 study of factors affecting women’s health, the National Women’s Law Center gave Louisiana a failing grade, using parameters like access to health services, rates of screening and other preventative services, smoking and binge-drinking rates, and many other disease statistics. In a by-state ranking, the state came in 50th out of 51, including each state and Washington D.C.

“It was part of a sort of ‘state of the state’ report,” Taylor said. That report sparked a conversation that led to this year’s mission — to talk about ways to improve those numbers.

“That’s one of the reasons we chose Holly Clegg as our keynote speaker at the kickoff,” Taylor said. Clegg, a Louisiana chef, is author of several popular cookbooks that focus on practical ways to cook tasty meals that make eating healthy easier for busy families.

But nutrition and physical fitness is a small part of a much bigger picture when it comes to wellness.

Topics to be addressed range from Ayurveda to yoga, organizing, from starting a new career to retiring from one, art and performance, to mental and physical health issues.

“We want these events to be a safe forum to start a discussion about these issues,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”

Many of the workshops, seminars and activities will be run by other organizations as part of Women!, the WCG has compiled a comprehensive list of all of them.

The program booklets are available at area BREC facilities, at YMCA branches, and at East Baton Rouge libraries, and are also available in electronic form on the Women’s Week website.

Not all of the activities are being organized directly by the WCG, so Taylor suggested reading carefully when choosing the events.

“Each event will have an address and contact number, and I urge women to call before they come. Many of these events require registration and have limited seating,” she said.

For a complete list of programs, visit