Katie Hillman – Staff Writer
CLARION, Pa.- Clarion University’s Women and Gender Studies program and the Office of International Programs hosted its first annual International Women’s Day celebration March 8 at the University Theater.
Festivities began with a free lunch reception from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The luncheon also gave those in attendance an opportunity to sample various international foods while discussing the United Nation’s 2017 International Women’s Day Theme: “Women and the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”
The United Nations’ website stated that “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”
When organizing the event, director of the Women and Gender Studies program Kathleen McIntyre was inspired by Clarion’s diversity. “We have a diverse student body, faculty and staff here at Clarion University,” McIntyre said.
“I thought it’d be great to honor our multicultural community by having Women and Gender Studies work with the Office of International Programs.”
The course content McIntyre teaches also impacted her decision to take part in this event. “As an historian of Latin America, I teach classes on Latin American women,” McIntyre said. “I’m always amazed by the important role women have played in political protest. I’m also impressed with the participation of Latin American women as presidents; they’ve had nine while the U.S. has had none.”
The menu consisted of Cuban black bean soup, Kimchi fried rice and a Mulligatawny egg drop soup. Aside from sampling foreign dishes, guests had the chance to network with international students, professors and visiting international scholars.
As a history lesson, handouts were also available that featured powerful women from throughout history that influenced a variety of fields such as arts and politics.
Clarion economics professor Sandra Trejos gave a speech on the Sustainable Development Goals. Trejos specifically focused on the fifth goal, which pertains to empowering women and girls around the world.
“I emphasized the fact that we were celebrating along with the rest of the world, which makes us global citizens who, regardless of location, are united as human beings representing the human race,” Trejos said. Her speech also addressed the United Nation’s Theme for this year’s International Women’s Day.
Later that night, “The Second Mother” was shown in the University Theater. This film showcased the relationship between a mother who works as a wealthy family’s maid and her daughter who is trying to break down social class barriers and allow her mother to recognize that she is equal to the wealthy individuals she works for.
McIntyre hoped that by showing the movie, along with the discussion that followed, that guests would “enjoy watching a funny film that also has a meaningful discussion about class and mother-daughter relations in modern Brazil.”
Women both on campus and nationwide also wore red March 8, and some participated in A Day without Women. Participating women stayed home from work and their other daily activities to show the impact women have on the socio-economic system in the United States. Red was chosen as the color for solidarity to represent “revolutionary love and sacrifice,” according to a group of women from the Women’s March on Washington. Red has also been associated with the labor movement in the past.