SCSU recognizes International Women’s Day


Lynandro Simmons – General Assignment Reporter

Tuesday March 7, Southern hosted a speaking event about the challenges women face globally for International Women’s Day.

Leora Kahn, the keynote speaker for the event, said despite the problems faced she believed the country was in the midst of a spring awakening or a renewed passion for activism involving women.

“Today we’re are empowered like we never were before,” said Kahn.

Technological advancement, more educational opportunities, and even social media have all helped women to further push for equality internationally, even with all these great advances that have helped women today, she said.

“There’s an old fashioned form of empowerment that women have had in their toolkit for over 100 years and that’s activism,” said Kahn.

Women are playing a pivotal role in the United States right now, said Kahn. Women have not only been involved in peace, but conflict resolution globally. Now there are more opportunities than ever before for women to be involved in activism.  

“It was the power of women that really started this activism,” said Kahn. “I really believe that.”

Rose Richi, a therapeutic foster care worker in New Haven, said the event was beautiful.

“I made my whole office come with me,” said Richi. “It was necessary.”

Richi said the event showed the activism women were involved in around the country and even on an international stage. The feeling of camaraderie throughout the event also made her proud, she said.

“It showed other women cared about other women,” said Richi. “We’re all in this together.”

Combining art, music and storytelling was a nuanced way to create a presentation, she said. In addition to keynote speaker Leora Kahn, the International Women’s Day event also included performances by musician Lara Herscovitch and art by JaxAbstracts.

“It’s a cooler way to do it,” said Richi. “Rather than just a long lecture.”

Though the event was excellent, Richi said that there is of course more work to be done. Attending these events can be helpful, but there needs to be more focus on what is done afterwards, she said. Showing up is only half the battle.

“It’s showing up, it’s being consistent, and it’s embracing our differences.” said Richi.

Justin Farmer, a junior biology major at Southern, said the event was well put together.

“I love photography,” said Farmer. “The fact the speaker used still photography to capture what happens in areas around the world allows for greater conversations.”

Farmer said that the photos of women who were victims captured real emotion and ensured the stories of each woman would never go untold.

One of the things he said he learned from the event was Yale having a crisis museum that focused on the abuse of women.

“I didn’t realize they had a research department that allowed people to view and find out about this information,” said Farmer.

The hardest thing was acknowledging the problems both America and many third world countries shared, he said. This shows there is a conversation that needs to take place about the issues at home and internationally and how they cleave to each other, said Farmer.

It is also important more women are involved in international affairs. More women being involved allows for decisions to be more transparent and inclusive, he said.

“Democracy only works if everyone has a seat at the table,” said Farmer. “We’ve seen women haven’t had the opportunity to be at the table.”

Photo Credit – Lynandro Simmons

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