Posted on Thu 08 Mar 2018 at 12:51 by Adam Tomes
Ellie, Guild President
"I raise up my voice - not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back."
- Malala Yousafzai
International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while continuing to press for progress on gender equality.
This year’s International Women’s Day is particularly pertinent following an unprecedented movement for women’s rights and equality all over the world this year. News stories around sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women have captured headlines in the media and re-engaged public discourse. The rising determination to make a change has manifested in global marches and campaigns from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and has renewed calls for equal pay across a number of industries.
We were delighted to host a ‘Reclaim the Night’ march on 6th February this year. It was incredible to see such large numbers of you join us, despite the freezing conditions, for a march on campus to say no to sexual violence, street harassment and victim blaming.
Also, our ‘Not On’ campaign, which is our commitment to creating an inclusive and welcoming community, free from sexual harassment and violence, recently hosted workshops on consent and bystander intervention to staff and students at Birmingham. This training will have a huge impact on our campaign aims, by equipping people with the knowledge, ability and confidence to report and take action against all forms of sexual harassment.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings and to celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to champion women’s rights and break down barriers that restrict many women from realising their full potential. That’s why I’m celebrating today – and that’s why you should too.
Holly, Women’s Officer
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressForProgress. What does this mean for students here at the University of Birmingham? The official campaign has stated: “Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity.” You can #PressForProgress in many different ways, whether that be through direct activism - maybe by attending a protest like our Reclaim the Night march or writing to your local MP on an issue important to you – or simply through striving to challenge harmful stereotypes by motivating and uniting friends and colleagues to think about how their words and actions impact on gender inclusivity. However you decide to #PressForProgress, I hope you have a fantastic, fierce, and feminist International Women’s Day.