Around 70 students gathered outside Frist Campus Center on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day by sharing personal experiences with gender inequality and voicing their opinions on the importance of change.
Anyssa Chebbi ’18, who helped organize the event, is currently taking NES 374/GSS 343: Global Feminisms: Feminist Movements in the Middle East and Beyond.
Chebbi said that members of the class originally planned to attend the Day Without a Woman protest in New York City, but later decided to instead organize a public event on campus.
“We wanted to give students a space to talk about women’s issues and how they affect our daily life,” she said. “So that’s how that idea came about.”
Chebbi added that she and the other planners of the event were surprised to see such interest from the student body.
“It was really cool to see so many people come together so quickly,” she said. “We made an event on Facebook, and it exploded so quickly. The next day we got an email from Dean [Jarrett] Fisher offering to help us through the logistics of organizing the event.”
Students who attended the event expressed appreciation for the public space to speak out and listen to other students discuss their views on why it is important to continue fighting for equal rights across gender.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to other women speak,” Emily Kamen ’17 said. “Everyone was really respectful of everyone else’s voices and opinions, so that’s what I really appreciated.”
Many others emphasized the need for more gatherings like this one in order to spread awareness of the magnitude of gender inequality and the urgency of eliminating it.
“I think a demonstration like this shows that students care about these kinds of issues,” Angela Wu ’19 said. “Gender inequality will continue to be a pressing issue and that’s why there are people here today who want their voices to be heard by gathering in a public place like this. Having an area where like-minded people can express their views about gender inequality and intersectionality is so important.”
Kamen said that feminist ideas should not be considered radical, since they are just a call for basic equal rights.
“As some people mentioned in their speeches, these ideas felt radical in a way that they really should not feel radical,” she said. “I wanted to be here to see what people had to say and to be a part of something that I hope can galvanize more thought.”
Maggie Dillon ’06, executive director of Princeton in Asia, also attended the event, along with two others involved in Princeton in Africa and Princeton in Latin America.
“It’s interesting that International Women’s Day is not a holiday that’s largely celebrated in the United States,” she noted. “All of us here are from Princeton in Asia, Princeton in Africa, and Princeton in Latin America, so we have experience living in countries where everyone in the community stops for a day to honor and recognize women and the incredible importance of women in society.”
“We wanted to be here and recognize that and stand in solidarity with all of the women in our lives and around the world that make it a better place,” she said.
Red ribbons were distributed to those who attended the event to help spread further awareness of the movement for women’s rights.