International Women’s Day, held on 8 March, will be marked throughout the year by a ‘variety of initiatives’ across Streatham, St Luke’s and Cornwall campuses, the University confirms.
Initially started as a left-of-centre protest in the early 20th Century, International Women’s Day has become a world-wide phenomenon heavily supported and sponsored by the UN and many charity groups and NGOs. This year’s worldwide theme is ‘Inspiring Change’, which calls for ‘challenging the status quo for women’s equality’, although the organisation is largely decentralized and individual groups are welcome to choose their own theme for their events. International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some states, particularly in central Asia, but has no official status in much of the western world. However in some regions the event is more akin to a day of appreciation, similar to Valentine’s or Mother’s day, rather than the political event it is in the UK.
The University of Exeter will be hosting a series of seminars from expert figures from the University and from external organisations, as well as an interactive panel for aspirational women to discuss their experiences with the audience. The University website will be changed throughout March to focus on exceptional staff, students and alumnae, although whether this would be solely female figures was not stated.
Last year the initiative saw events such as the (now renamed) University Gender Equality Society’s ‘Reclaim the Night’ event, where students marched to protest violence against women, as well as an Oxfam fundraiser.
A University spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating International Women’s Day and have decided that this shouldn’t be restricted to one day, or even one month. This is why we’re planning a programme of events, integrating both staff and students, which will run throughout 2014”.
Alex Carden, Features Editorbookmark me