The Women’s Center teamed up with the International Student Association (ISA) to celebrate International Women’s Day this past Thursday in Ostrander Auditorium.
The event was hosted by interns from the Women’s Center, Alimatou Bah and Brooke Koehn, as well as the vice president of the ISA, Nimotallahi Quadri.
The event welcomed guest speaker, Labelle Nambangi, the author of “Women Who Soar” and speaker of women’s empowerment.
Nambangi told stories of her life, the powerful women that she looked up to growing up, her conversations with people about feminism, and the importance of women’s empowerment.
Nambangi stated, “I’ve come across a lot of people, men especially, that have the misconception that women’s empowerment is about women wanting to have control over men. Women’s empowerment isn’t about women wanting control over men, but rather women wanting to have control of their own lives. Feminism isn’t about women hating men or wanting to control the world, it’s just women fighting against the oppressive practices, policies, and gender discrimination they experience on a regular.”
The event also showcased student performers. Avishek Pradhan, Samikshya Bhattarai, and Sneha Bhusal performed an interpretive dance that represented the tough journey of domestic violence.
Tomi Adeola, another student performer, recited a spoken word poem about the life of a young girl and the unfortunate circumstance she faced of genital mutilation. He stated, “It can be female genital mutilation, It can be misogyny, it can be rape, it can be any form of gender based discrimination. It could be my sister’s or yours. It could be my mother or yours. It could be my daughter or yours. This is why everybody should be a feminist.”
The event ended with a student panel to gain the perspectives of women from all different kinds of backgrounds and perspectives.
When asked about what feminism means to them, panelist Anarose Hart-Thomas stated, “Feminism to me is really about bridging the gaps that society creates for different types of people. Feminism is about bridging the gaps between oppression and privilege.”
Another panelist, Alena Joseph, stated, “When I think about feminism, I think about intersectionality. I don’t want to include just gender, but I also want to include race, I want to include ableism, gender identity expression, and that’s why feminism to me is not just making the playing field easier for men and women, but for everybody.”
The theme of the event was #BalanceForBetter to encourage the fight for equality and a balanced world. When asked what an ideal balanced world looks like to them, panelist Tashinga Mupambo stated, “Just recognizing that we’re all different, a balanced world isn’t a world where we all become one culture or we believe in the same thing, but just realizing that balanced for me might be different than balanced for you, and it’s just about embracing every person’s dignity and their right to choose what they want for their lives.”
Another panelist, Claribel Cora, stated, “I think that balanced for better is to promote diversity and to accept our different identities to have a balanced world for everyone so they can feel accepted no matter their identity. My ideal balanced world is one that recognizes that diversity in all areas of society including mass media policies and schools in order to create respect for different genders.”
The International Women’s Day celebration was very educational as students got to learn a lot of different perspectives in many sectors of culture.
Brooke Koehn, an organizer of the event, stated, “I think it’s really important to celebrate the differences between cultures. I’m from America and I don’t really know that much so to like broaden my knowledge of the different cultures and to celebrate that is very important”
Alimatou Bah, another organizer of the event, stated, “I believe International Women’s Day is very important because women do not get celebrated as often, even though every day is women’s day for me, we don’t get as celebrated as often as we should and if we get a whole month to be celebrated, why isn’t MNSU doing it, so we thought we should do one.”
Bah was happy about the event, although they faced some complications in organizing their first event, she stated, “If we could educate one person that’s more than enough.”
Header photo by Maria Ly | MSU Reporter.