Events and Campaigns Officer of Loughborough Women’s Network, Catriona Fida, gives a run-down on everything that happened this year during International Women’s Week.
March is the month to celebrate women. For me, being the Events and Campaigns Officer of Loughborough Students’ Unions Women’s Network, I only thought it would be right to commemorate the occasion by providing an overview of my favourite events from the past week.
Inspirational Female Leaders in Business Discussion Panel – 5th March
The week kicked off with a guest speaker event in collaboration with the Careers Network. The guests spoke on topics including discrimination, imposter syndrome and maternity leave, addressing the challenges they faced in climbing to senior positions within the workspace. The evening offered lots of opportunities for open discussion and networking for attendees to take advantage of the panellists’ expertise in their respective fields.
Comfort in Discomfort Exhibition – 8th March
For International Women’s Day, student Lavanya Venkateswaran curated an exhibition that showcased different aspects of menstruation, including period shame, stigmas, and period poverty to help spread awareness about some of the issues faced by women worldwide. The exhibition also explored the use of sustainable period products, such as the menstrual cup, and what more can be done to make the menstrual industry more environmentally friendly. Overall, it was an informative exhibition that encouraged conversation on topics that are widely still seen as taboo.
Women’s March – 11th March
After harbouring recycled bits of cardboard for weeks in the run-up to International Women’s Week, the Women’s Network team, in collaboration with LU Arts, put on a banner making workshop. We designed eye-catching posters with slogans like ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights’ in preparation for the Women’s March which was, undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the week. Exceeding all expectations, the march received an amazing turnout and even the weather held out for us – we definitely turned a few heads as we marched through campus to music from Beyoncé and the Spice Girls!
Intersectional Feminism Discussion Panel – 11th March
Following the march, in the evening there was a panel discussion on intersectional feminism which provided a safe space for minority women to discuss some of their experiences. This was done through acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach to feminism does not allow for the unique modes of discrimination women face e.g. issues surrounding ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ+ rights, disability, and class. It was an uplifting evening, filled with an interesting discussion on how we can make feminism more accessible to all and what the barriers are that currently prevent us from achieving equality.
International Women’s Festival – 12th March
In collaboration with LU Arts, the Women’s Network also put on an International Women’s Festival which celebrated inspirational women with poems, plays, storytelling, and illustrations.
A link to all of the amazing work submitted for the festival and information about their creators can be found here. This event was really inspiring and demonstrated the sheer range of talent we have here at Loughborough University. It made for the perfect end to our International Women’s Week celebrations.
So, there we have it. That was a very brief summary of the fantastic events that the Women’s Network hosted throughout the week. In very different ways, they all celebrated womanhood and highlighted some important aims that we still need to work towards in order to achieve equality.
While feminism is a movement increasingly being associated with individualistic attitudes and extremism, the Women’s Network’s International Women’s Week campaign demonstrated the movement’s potential to unite and empower women, through embracing difference and promoting common goals.
Featured Image by Sarah Hannaford