Marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 15th anniversary of StFX’s Women’s and Gender Studies program
March 11, 2011 8:46 PM
Celebrations have been held this week to mark two noteworthy events: the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 15th Anniversary of the Women’s and Gender Studies program.
International Women’s Day first emerged from the fervour of women’s and socialist movements at the turn of the 20th century in North America and across Europe. Concern over the particular plight of women industrial workers who experienced dangerous working conditions and low wages resulted in calls for improved political and economic rights for women. And in 1910 at the International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen where 100 women from over 17 countries gathered approval was given to recognize an international women’s day from 1911 onward. Since its birth among socialist feminists, International Women’s Day (held on March 8) has grown to be a global day of celebration and activism, bringing needed attention to the ongoing struggles of women world-wide.
Economic justice remains a central issue as exemplified by the United Nations theme for IWD: “Equal Access to Education, Training, Science and Technology: Pathways to Decent Jobs.” In Canada, significant improvements are still needed as our country ranks 20th and behind the United States in the global ranking on women’s equality according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Celebrations are also being held for the 15th Anniversary of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at StFX. Initiated by the joint efforts of then junior faculty, Clare Fawcett, Nancy Forestell and Maureen Moynagh, and with the much valued support of senior faculty such as Ann Bigelow and Peggy Gallant, the Women’s Studies program first began offering core and cross-listed courses in the fall of 1996. In addition to its course offerings, the program has actively engaged in various campus initiatives such as the Harassment and Discrimination Policy, anti-sexual assault awareness, and the promotion of equity and diversity in both academic and social venues. We are also very proud of the accomplishments of our students and the contributions of the Women’s and Gender Student society in this issue of the Xaverian Weekly.