By Kayla Perry
Recognized at Laurentian for the first time this year, the International Day of the Girl was celebrated by the Women’s Studies Association on Oct. 11.
The event was hosted in the Student Lounge from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and volunteers from the Women’s Studies program came together to create a bake sale and clothing swap, in order to raise awareness for Day of the Girl.
Tanya Maier, a first-year Laurentian student in the Women’s Studies Program, is the force behind LU’s recognition of this international day.
“I wanted to see if Sudbury was celebrating the International Day of the Girl, and couldn’t find anything,” Maier said. “I called the Mayor’s office to ask if (the office) was doing anything to recognize the Day of the Girl and (the Mayor’s office) had never heard of it. Nobody in Sudbury had heard of the International Day of the Girl.”
After realising that the day would not be celebrated in Sudbury, Tanya decided to create the bake sale and clothing swap at Laurentian.
Dr. JenniferL. Johnson, Chair of the Department of Women’s Studies, is thrilled about the new recognition, explaining that “International Day of the Girl is a global event that is being celebrated all over the world, but it was the Women’s Studies Association that initiated the celebration (in Laurentian.) (The students) really pulled it together – it is an excellent example of what students can do. It is a wonderful event that addresses a really important issue.”
Johnson came to Laurentian in 2007, and is passionate about this world-wide issue.
The money raised at the bake sale will be donated to the Because I Am a Girl campaign, aimed at sending young girls to school.
As for the clothing swap, which included women bringing in their used clothing and trading for something, Johnson explained that “one of the issues around gender and education is poverty; one of the reasons young girls can sometimes not attend school is due to a lack of resources. The clothing swap is fun, but it also signals that as girls, we reuse, we recycle, we share our stuff – sometimes we do things a little bit differently. It’s important as women to do things differently sometimes, and make use of the resources in our community – even if it is just our clothes.”
Nationally, the month of October is Women’s History Month, but often passes with little recognition. This year at LU, however, the Women’s Studies Association is working to create awareness.
“In terms of speaking to the public and connecting with students and community members who maybe don’t think of gender inequalities, this is a really important month,” explained Johnson.