Over the years, women have not always been treated, honored, nor respected as they should, but as the years progressed, women have made a name for themselves and made their voices heard. In celebration of women March has been proclaimed as Women’s History Month with specific emphasis on March 8 as Women’s Day.
On March 8, 1908, 15,000 female clothing and textile factory workers marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor. An international conference was held two years later in 1910 and Women’s Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin, a German socialist who suggested a day to mark the strike of garment workers in the United States. The following year, 1911, International Women’s Day was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Since then International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in both, developed and developing countries.
Every year on March 8 women all over the world come together, looking past their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences to celebrate how far they have come and looking back to a tradition that has come to represent decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. Like the rest of the nation, West Chester University is recognizing Women’s Day and celebrating women through the month.
Each year a specific theme is chosen by each country that pertains to Women’s Day. The themes do not have to be consistent throughout each celebrating country. It is up to the country and their people to decide. Over the years some of the various themes celebrated include, women in decision-making, gender equality and the millennium development goals, women and HIV/AIDS, investing in women and girls, and the most recent, celebrated this year is women and men united to end violence against women and girls.
Some events that have already taken place during the past three weeks of March include International Women’s Day – Appreciate, Empower, Encourage, which was a celebration in hopes of increasing awareness of this global celebration organized by the students of the Women’s College of the University of Denver. Another event held, Second Wave Feminists on Camera, discussed what the revolution was about with the official photographer from the first National Women’s Conference in 1977. An additional event was a film festival displaying “Blesses is the Match,” the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, a port from the World War II time period who has become a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. All of these events, unique to themselves, bring women together from all over the world to honor and recognize women and the steps they have made.
One special event that will occur on West Chester University’s campus this Sunday, March 29, students, faculty and friends can take an hour to ‘Take a Walk in Her Shoes Against Rape, Sexual Assault, and Gender Violence’ as participants trek around campus for one mile wearing women’s high heel shoes. Anyone can be a resource for a man to borrow a pair of heels.
This walk is being held to raise awareness and take action to prevent sexualized violence. Participants are encouraged to raise both money in support of this issue and awareness to their community of the impacts women are unfortunately still feeling today.
All proceeds from the “Walk a Walk in Her Shoes” event will help support the Crime Victim’s Center of Chester County. West Chester’s goal is to provide students with a fun interactive event and to provide educational opportunities about issues impacting our loved ones and community.
Registration for the walk will begin on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and the walk will begin at 3:00 p.m.For more information about this event and registration, one can contact Alicia R. Hahn – Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Committee at AHAHN@wcupa.edu or visit the facebook group supporting and promoting this event.
Maggie Cosgrove is a third-year student majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in reading. She can be reached at Mc626229@wcupa.edu.