Since 1910, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March every year to acknowledge the accomplishments of women. It began as a symbol to protest women’s worker rights and support suffrage movements around the world.
At Marc Garneau, Social Justice Convenor Edith Nyamekye recognized International Women’s Day by handing out ribbons to three hundred people during first period to symbolize women. During lunch, Me To We had a poster that students could sign and write words of encouragement on. The poster will be displayed on the cafeteria wall.
Fatima Gulab, a student who signed the poster, said, “I wanted to sign it to show support for empowering women, especially since I am a girl myself.” She also mentioned increasing school participation with more events at lunch and advertising the event beforehand, a sentiment which was echoed by other students as well.
While purple ribbons were a hit with students, Edith originally planned to distribute bracelets but wasn’t able to due to budget constraints. The Me To We poster had about sixty signatures and President Caryn Qian felt it was a definite success. She added, “We wanted to celebrate the success that has been made in gender equality and the poster was welcomed by students.”
This year, women used the day to bring awareness specifically to labour rights, abortion laws, and gender violence. In addition, countries such as France honoured the perseverance and importance of women by awarding the first Simone Veil prize to Doumara Ngatansou for her activism against forced marriages. While activism for women’s rights occurred throughout the world during the day, Garneau celebrated International Women’s Day on a smaller scale and accomplished its goals with plans for more next year.