A Look Into International Women’s Day


Kaitlyn Martin

Alyson Graham, fashion merchandising junior, has been passionate about women’s rights since her senior year of high school. Graham said she did a project in her high school sociology class that really inspired her to keep fighting for women’s awareness.

Kaitlyn Martin, Staff Reporter

Two years ago, Alyson Graham, fashion merchandising junior, Googled the word “feminist”. Graham said she was met with thousands of results that mostly all came back to one word: equality.

Nearly two months ago, Graham was unpacking a pink shirt that read “We Can” from her suitcase that accompanied her on the Women’s March. There she marched alongside hundreds of thousands of men, women, children and families, including her own, for a purpose.

“It was greater than me. It was greater than my mom. It was all of us saying we can and we will with power,” Graham said. “We were confident.”

During that weekend, Graham said she was met with what closely resembled the definition she sought out two years ago.

“I was proud,” she said.

On March 8, 1914. International Women’s Day was created.

In 1908, women began to feel compelled to take action in the fight for equality, according to the International Women’s Day online website. The website also said women’s oppression ignited 15,000 women to march the streets of New York City. They demanded better pay, shorter hours and voting rights.

The website goes on to say by 2000, the new millennium saw International Women’s Day activity halted as the world moved forward and forgot to bring feminism and the issue of equality with it. According to the website, this set the tone for re-ignition.

In 2001, websites like World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts were launched, charities and fundraisers were held and themes for the day were adopted and identified for every year to come, according to the International Women’s Day website.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day has been titled “Be Bold for Change”. “This year’s theme is made to call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world,” The International Women’s Day website said.

By 2012, President Barack Obama deemed March to be Women’s History Month, according to the National Women’s History Museum’s website. This created a precedence to call all Americans to remember International Women’s Day.

“We remember it by reflecting on the ‘extraordinary accomplishments of women’ in shaping the country’s history,” The International Women’s Day website said.

As for today, an estimated 500,000 attendees showed up for the Women’s March on Washington, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Across campus, efforts for women’s equality continue on. During March, Michael Jackman, Academic Affairs Diversity Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in English, observes International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

“There are few people in this world who are strong enough, who are brave enough even, to stand up for a cause of concern that’s become a commodity for discussion. Yet, it’s still a cause and it’s greater than we are,” Jackman said.

Sharing Jackman’s sentiments is Dr. Jeffrey Perry, Assistant Professor of English. Part of Perry’s academic background consists of women’s awareness, namely their quest for equal pay, Perry said.

“If you cast a stone across water, it creates ripples. That’s the voices of women in the workforce. They make ripples,” Perry said. “Given time, they’ll make waves. We will see change.”

According to the International Women’s Day website, women’s quest for equality doesn’t just exist in America. Women in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland have fought for women’s rights in history, according to the International Women’s Day website. Women in Mexico partake in the fight as well.

Jeanine Avila, international studies major, and her family are from Mexico City.

Jeanine Avila, international studies major, says she wakes up everyday grateful to live in a country where she gets to fight for her rights, more specifically women’s rights.
“I want to be a woman before I’m anything else,” Avila said. “I want that opportunity so I fight for it.”

“My mom always told me to be pretty, to look the part, to marry and have all these kids. She has always had this vision of me – she still does –marrying an architect, someone that would build me a pretty house. I hate that. I hate it so much,” Avila said.  

Avila said she wants to be a woman before I’m anything else and plans for her own success before she thinks of being responsible for anyone else’s.

“I don’t want to ever need a husband, but desire one. I want to make as much money as him. I’d fight for that. You’d be crazy not to. Right?” Avila said.

As for Alyson Graham, she continues on to class, thinking that she has so much work left to do before spring break. Somewhere in her closet, a pink shirt is folded, but it will not stay there. Graham has made other plans.

“I won’t quit,” she said.