International Women’s Day at Lancaster University

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Image courtesy of Flickr

Thursday 8th March marked International Women’s Day 2018.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, political, cultural and economic achievements of women. Not only is it a day to recognise women’s achievements in the quest for gender equality but a day for everyone to celebrate their relationships with women and a day to acknowledge the challenges women continue to face.

To commemorate the day, the Women’s+ Forum welcomed Maggie Tookey who spoke about her work with the charity, Edinburgh Direct Aid, on helping care for refugees on the Syrian border. For international women’s day, Tookey talked about her work specifically for women and the need to Press for Progress in the area.

Later in the afternoon, the society also held a “Women in Media Panel” where Features Editors from the online feminist journal The F-Word, Christina Caré and Sophie Jackson, talked about International Women’s Day, feminism, social media and how women can break their way into the media.

Jackson spoke about universities as an intellectual and political space for debate about these issues and told SCAN: “I enjoy coming to universities and talking to students… it’s a good opportunity to start political conversations… I think students are a really powerful force”.

During the talk, Caré advised to set realistic goals, “you cannot change centuries of gender inequality” she said, but you can create “little ripples” in your own, everyday life, which spread and effect everyday discourse.
Caré said: “We are really proud of what we do at The F-Word and we are only too happy to bring that to people”.

International Women’s Day celebrations do not stop here. In collaboration with Lancaster University Careers, the Women’s+ Forum are also holding careers-based panels and networking events on Friday 9th March.

Ruth Truscott, current Women’s+ Part Time Officer said: “as organiser of these events, I think they went well with much engagement at the stall and less for talks … however we did interact with so many and we spread awareness of International Women’s Day”.
While prospects of achieving gender parity and equality are on the increase, there is of course more that needs to be done.

After speaking about the negative influence of Hollywood and figures like Harvey Weinstein but also of the positive influence of women such as Jessica Chestain, both Caré and Jackson expressed hope for a change to the historical struggle for women’s rights and recognition. They hope a change in society will stimulate conversation and strive for gender equality across various industries and careers sectors, especially in the media.