Women’s Center Celebrates International Women’s Month

Students organize events honoring women, celebrating achievements

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The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at the University is honoring women and their achievements through its celebration of International Women’s Month.

Marshall Bronfin | Cavalier Daily

The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at the University is honoring women and their achievements, especially women who have attended the University, through its celebration of International Women’s Month.

The Women’s Center hosted three events this past week: tabling on the Lawn, an international women’s trivia night at Mellow Mushroom and a screening of “He Named Me Malala.” Augusta Durham, Courtney Morgan and Layaly Ahmad, the three interns working in the Women, Girls and Global Justice department of the Women’s Center each planned and coordinated one of the events.

Augusta Durham, a second-year College student, planned the tabling booth, Courtney Morgan, a fourth-year Batten student, planned trivia night and Layaly Ahmad, a fourth-year College student, planned the screening. Kimberly Smith, Program Coordinator for the Women, Girls, and Global Justice department at the Women’s Center and Education graduate student, oversaw the events.

While tabling, Durham gave out black and white buttons with the faces of inspirational feminists, men and women, for students to put on backpacks and bags. The buttons included the faces of Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Serena Williams and Emma Watson. The interns created a flyer with short biographies about women who graduated from the University, including well-known women such as Tina Fey and Katie Couric as well as other, lesser-known women like Sasheer Zamata, a cast member on SNL, Morgan Brian, an American soccer player and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion and Margot Lee Shetterly, founder of Human Computer Project and author of “Hidden Figures.”

“The buttons are really important,” Smith said. “Even yesterday when I was in class, a guy in my program asked what the button was for. I was like, ‘Well actually, we made it in the Women’s Center to celebrate women and people that have made a stance against something oppressive.’ It was spreading the word and being that uplifting presence on campus in a simple way.”

The booth also facilitated immediate, personal interaction with International Women’s Month.

“The booth I found particularly inspirational because, especially with the poster of people writing down [which] women inspire them, it gets people thinking about the women in their lives and how amazing they are and all the things they’ve done. It brings them to the forefront of their mind,” Durham said.

Trivia Night at Mellow Mushroom is a long-standing, Wednesday-night tradition at the University. The Women’s Center took advantage of its prominence to host a trivia night featuring questions about the history of international women and their accomplishments.

Prizes were offered for first, second and third places. The Women’s Center partnered with PAKA, a nonprofit organization for women in Peru, to offer four 40 percent off coupons for the alpaca sweaters created by Peruvian women as prizes.

Finally, the Women’s Center hosted a screening of “He Named Me Malala.” Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for girls’ education, was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way home from school in 2012. Nevertheless, she survived the attempted assassination and has continued to speak up in favor of universal female education. Malala’s story and the movie spoke to different levels of feminism and international women’s issues, touching on women of color, activism, social justice, education, age and promoting change.

International Women’s Month recognizes the contributions of women and their impact on society.

“What I find most inspirational about International Women’s Month is celebrating inspirational women around the world and seeing the impact that they have because, a lot of times, I feel like women’s accomplishments and what they do are not brought to the forefront,” Durham said. “… it brings women to the forefront of the conversation and makes their voices and their accomplishments heard, which further inspires the women below them.”

International Women’s Month can still be celebrated despite the conclusion of the Women’s Center’s planned events, Durham said.

“Any time your friend has an accomplishment, be proud of them, don’t be jealous and be like ‘Oh I wish I had gotten that,’” Durham said. “Bring people up. If you get a grant or something like that, give people tips. If a girl comes to you asking, ‘How did this go? How did you do that?’ take the time to help other people because you didn’t get here alone. You never did.”

Durham said celebrating women and their accomplishments can occur through everyday behavior.

“Getting to know the women who have done amazing things, that’s a way to celebrate women. Study history. Study women’s history because the history you learn in school is not women’s history, it’s not. Bring them out of that invisibility and lift them up, and by lifting them up, you’ll lift yourself up too,” Durham said.  

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