By Terrilyn Ho | News Editor
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Day Without a Woman, Saint Mary’s held an impromptu event on Wednesday, March 8, which featured speakers from all backgrounds sharing their stories and experiences, including Monica Fitzgerald from the JCL Program, and Sharon Sabotta, the Director of the Women’s Resource Center.
The event was organized by Sherry Platt, the Associate Director of SEBA Graduate Career Services. Every March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated, recognizing women’s rights and the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women.
Amongst the people who attended, many were donning the color red to show their solidarity for the event. Several attendees also held posters to show their support for women—one student held a sign that read, “Support your sisters, not just your cis-ters.” Postcards that read “Nevertheless, she persisted” were also handed out to the crowd.
The event started with a short introduction from Platt, who explained the importance of celebrating International Women’s Day. Platt directed the attention to who and what women should be focusing on, emphasizing “Those women who are experiencing increasing inequality, young women, Muslim women, Black and Hispanic working-class women, mothers, trans, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, women of color, women’s rights over our bodies, and women’s rights to equal pay.”
Platt asked the crowd, “What would a day without women look like?” implying that it is clear that women have an important role in society. According to the statistics, 58 percent of faculty and staff at Saint Mary’s are women and 63 percent of all students are women.
One of the speakers was Saint Mary’s student, Leora Mosman, who talked about her experience attending the Women’s March in Washington D.C. this past January. “The goal of a Day Without a Woman is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the U.S. and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender non-conforming people continue to face,” Mosman said.
Mosman continued by asserting, “We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations, and stereotypes.” She informed the crowd that our society must stop “the constant awarding of power, agency, and resources disproportionately to masculinity to the exclusion of others.”
In order to accomplish this, Mosman declared there must be an end to hiring discrimination and other workplace inequities. In particular, she emphasized that this is targeted towards “mothers, women of color, women with disabilities, indigenous women, lesbian, queer, trans women” and others.
According to Mosman, “We believe that creating workforce opportunities that reduce discrimination against women and mothers allow economies to thrive. Nations and industries that support and invest in caregiving and basic workplace protections, including benefits like paid family leave, access to affordable childcare, sick days, health care, fair pay, vacation time, and healthy work environments have shown growth and increased capacity. “
Another speaker was Adaora Ezike, who emphasized that International Women’s Day was for all, no matter how young or old. She said the day was also for, “all the little girls who have to stop their school so that their brothers can go to school, all the little girls who have to get married so that they will become their families source of income, all those little girls who seem so far away, but are so close by. Just today, as we celebrate ourselves and all those women in history, let us remember to celebrate those little girls as well.”
To conclude, Platt announced that she had never considered it before, but she had gotten a call that morning to ask if she could run for a political position. This information elicited cheers from the crowd, which prompted her to feel even more encouraged to run.
She ended by letting everyone know that, “We have the power to make a shift and we should never forget that. Women give birth to children, to innovation, to ideas. Each of us has the power to give birth to change. We know that there’s a glass ceiling because women are underpaid and under promoted. The only way to shatter the ceiling is if each of us holds the hammer for ourselves and for each other—it’s through collaboration that we find strength.”