Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day (The 100th anniversary in fact!). The day on which nations across the world celebrate the political, social, and economic achievements of women throughout history. The day on which we women are honored for what we have accomplished in the face of incredible adversity. It’s amazing to think of everything women have accomplished, be it the individual achievements of great women such as Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and many more, or the achievements we have made as a group working towards equality. A day for women is a great way to recognize the importance of women past, present, and future!
Yet, curiously enough, I haven’t heard anything about Women’s Day on campus. Nor have I heard anything about Women’s History Month. Although the majority of RIT students are men, perhaps specifically because the majority are men, I would expect the school to recognize this day.
And considering this year’s theme, “Equal access to education, training, and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women” I would imaging RIT would be all over this! This school is science and technology. We should be encouraging more support for women in these fields, we should be embracing today with enthusiasm!
More after the jump!
After doing a little research, including stopping by the RIT’s Center for Women and Gender and doing a few online searches, I found that RIT is quietly celebrating women this week. There’s one event (and sometimes two) per day, including watching movies, a women’s information fair, poster painting, and Phillipa Powers, author of “Coming to College in the US: Learning and Living in a Country Not Your Own”, as a keynote speaker.
Having these events is fantastic (with the exception of watching Eat, Pray, Love I think. Watching a privileged white woman who appropriates other cultures and religions to feel like a better person kind of rubs me the wrong way.) but I think that we could still be doing more to raise awareness. A tiny link on RIT’s website to a simple event outline and a small bulletin board message outside the Center’s office isn’t really enough to spread the word.
Of course, RIT has so far proven to be low on spirit when celebrating diversity. The most I heard or saw about Black History Month was on a bulletin board on my floor. I didn’t hear or see anything about activities or talks throughout the month, although an online search reveals that there were a few movies and discussions I was unaware of. Considering the lack of diversity at RIT, it would be nice for the school to more loudly proclaim support for our minority groups.
My point is, RIT does a good job celebrating diversity with events and movies and such, but we do a bad job raising awareness of these celebrations.
I also haven’t seen a lot of press for International Women’s Day in non-RIT news. The majority of information I’ve heard about today is from the feminist blogs and news sites I frequent. I’ve heard a mention here and a flyaway comment there from other news providers, but very few are substantial.
Which leads me to wonder this: where is the love for International Women’s Day?
Women have been stomped on for too long to be ignored. There are many who think we have achieved equality, but this obviously isn’t true. One only has to look at the wage gap, see the blatant misogyny everywhere in advertising, TV, movies… Look at today’s politics. We’re still arguing over a woman’s right to choose, to have easy access to birth control and health care. We’re making progress, but we’re making progress slowly.
To ignore International Women’s Day is insulting. Women have gone through so much, we can’t just react with indifference. We can’t just sweep the past and present’s sexism under the rug. A one day celebration of women is the least we as a society can do.
So I say, celebrate today and celebrate today LOUDLY. I’m going to tell all of my friends about the events throughout the week and check out some of these events myself. It’s International Women’s Day! Time to celebrate!
Update: I’ve seen silhouettes of women with signs outlining the weeks events in a couple places around the SAU as well as little paper displays on tables throughout the campus. Although not many people seem to know about International Women’s Day, it seems as though RIT is working hard to promote it. Much more spirited! Great job, and thanks RIT!