YUSU Commemorates International Women's Week 2021


YUSU's Women and Non-Binary Network are marking the occasion with a range of events this week

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Image by Marc Nozell

By Joseph Higgins

CW: Mentions of sexual violence, racism, misogyny and physical violence

Monday 8 March marked the annual celebration of International Women’s Day, a day in which the achievements of women across the globe are recognised. Likewise, it is an opportunity for recognition of the continuing work towards widespread and international gender equality.

At the University, YUSU’s Women and Non-Binary network (WNBN) are celebrating Women’s History Month, with a broad spectrum of events being offered over Zoom and Netflix party to anyone who wishes to participate. The remaining events of the week are as follows:

On Wednesday 10th March at 5pm there is a Zoom panel called “Campaigning 101” the WNBN have gathered a panel of successful campaign activists to answer the student body’s questions on how to use their platforms as students and enact real change via direct action. This will include, how to start a campaign and what one’s goals should be in order to succeed.

On Thursday 11th March at 12pm noon, there is a Netflix party viewing of Feminists: what were they thinking? This 2018 Johanna Demetrakas documentary targets the progress (or lack thereof) society has made in its treatment of women through the lens of second-wave feminists, reviewing photographs of their actions in the 1970s and reviewing where those feminists are in the present day.

Also on Thursday, a Talk and Q&A from famed founder of the Cheer up Luv photo movement Eliza Hatch. Cheer up Luv is a photo movement dedicated to retelling the stories of women who experience harassment in the street, with the aim of tackling the normalisation of such harassment by providing a platform to those women who otherwise might not have one. Tickets to the event are free from YUSU’s booking page (Link below).

Finally on Friday at 12pm noon, there is a WNBN and YUSU RAG collaborative Instagram easter egg hunt fundraiser for Refuge, a charity devoted to assisting survivors of domestic abuse. Tickets are required to participate, priced at £4 and each purchase is donated directly to Refuge. (Link below)

Speaking about International Women’s Week and why it is so valuable that the University recognises it, YUSU WNB officers Daisy Slate and Nèha Shah commented:

“Universities are massive institutions and wield a considerable amount of influence in the higher education sphere. For York specifically, celebrating IWW acknowledges the progress that has been made while also recognising how much we still have yet to do. While there are institutional problems that directly affect women in universities - such as 1 in 7 women students will experience sexual violence during their time at university(1) - IWW allows for universities to reflect on the ways in which they support women students and the ways in which they do not.”

When asked if the University had done enough to market the above events they said:

“This year we were really happy to be featured on the University webpage dedicated to International Women’s Day and to have our events showcased to both students and staff. This year we feel particularly grateful to the fantastic staff who worked with us to get our events showcased on the website as they really ensured that there was credit given to the network for the work and the events that we are putting on; in the past this has not been the case and often the University has marketed the events that we are running under an umbrella of ‘University events’ which can be frustrating and also doesn’t help to raise the visibility of the network.

“Therefore we think it’s really important that the University not only credits students for the work they do and events that they run but also communicates with student groups directly to promote the work they do and raise visibility for their causes.”

Finally, if students were looking to do something more personal during Women’s History Month in order to broaden their knowledge, Daisy and Nèha have a few recommendations:

“One thing that is super important to keep in mind when celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month is intersectionality so we would highly recommend that students try and explore a range of mediums.

“The documentaries we have Netflix party screenings of this week we would highly recommend as they’re not only insightful in terms of where we still need change but they also celebrate how far women have come. In terms of books, I would recommend “Girl, Women, Other’ by Bernadine Evaristo, “Sister Outsider” by Audra Lorde, and “We Should all be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Film-wise would definitely recommend “Hidden Figures”, “Roma” and “Bend it Like Beckham”.

For more information and links to the events, follow the links below: