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17th March 2019 by

International Women’s Day – A Retrospective

Last Friday the University of Birmingham celebrated International Women’s Day. The day commemorates and celebrates the achievements, history, and political activism of women across the world. The day is a period to reflect on women’s suffrage, as well as a time to engage with inequalities and disparities that effect women in society today.

To commemorate International Women’s Day, the EDACS Feminism Group hosted an informal activity on the 8th of March. The EDACS Feminism Group is a student led initiative designed to address everyday sexism and promote feminism. The group is run by a small group of students in collaboration with the EDACS Student Experience Officer, and is open to staff and students across the School. Recent events have included discussions on topics such as beauty standards in advertising and sexism on social media, which have been attended by 20-35 people, and a talk by Dr Anna Cermakova and Professor Michaela Mahlberg on their research into ‘Witches, Wizards and Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Literature’ which was attended by over 100 people.

On International Women’s Day, the EDACS Feminism group provided inspirational quote note cards and purple pens, so that staff and students could leave a message for the inspirational women in their lives. This could be for a best friend, for your nan, your mum, that girl who you admire but haven’t really spoken to, a woman in history who you wished you could’ve spoken to, and much more. There were also snacks and lots of International Women’s Day freebies, including pin-badges, pens and wristbands! Students and staff were encouraged to bring their friends along and also to pop in between classes. There was also the opportunity to stick around and chat, listen to some Beyoncé or watch a feminist TedTalk!

Overall the event was a great opportunity to celebrate the history, achievements, and activism of women from all walks of life, and the EDACS Feminism Group has also kindly provided us with photos of the event:

The Cultural Calendar hosted our own online comemoration of the day. We wanted to hear from you about women who had been an inspiration, and we encouraged students to post about inspirational women over social media with #UoBWomen, and also to write a short 100-300 word contribution for the blog! There was even a £25 Amazon Voucher up for grabs!

Unfortunately we only had one participant; however we’d like to thank Wiem Melki (MPA) for their contribution, and we’ll send you your Amazon Voucher shortly!

Here’s what they had to say:

The Woman who keeps inspiring me every day is the definition of dedication, resilience and passion.

She has always been a change-maker, whether being in class inspiring her students and encouraging them to be better versions of themselves, or when directing different Primary Schools to success–something she has been doing for more than 10 years now!

Despite all the challenges she has faced, and the few resources she has been provided, she has always managed to create a great space for education and growth for her students. Thanks to her student led approach to renovation, she has managed to create a myriad of clubs and entertainment events, which have gone a long way in contributing towards student enjoyment.

My mother is the epitome of a working woman with ambition, and for International Women’s day this year I’d like to thank my mom Hayet Mansouri for all her achievements and impact.

We’d like to thank Wiem once more for their contribution! We also encourage all students, staff, and visitors to the blog to search on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using #UoBWomen, for further insight into women that have been an inspiration for staff and students at the university.

If you’d like to post for the UoB Cultural Calendar Blog for one of our upcoming events, please contact: n.f.gallen@bham.ac.uk.

We’d like to thank the EDACS Feminism Group and Sophia Robertshaw for letting us share the details of their event, as well as their photos from the day. We hope you all had a wonderful International Women’s Day 2019, and we look forward to celebrating women’s achievement with you throughout the year!

The Cultural Calendar Project Team.

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