Celebrating women on campus

Last Monday, the Women and Gender Studies Action Group and the Interim Place held a Women’s Day celebration at UTM.

The night began in the CCT atrium, where attendees joined in a draw to win prize packs including hair and body products. All proceeds from ticket sales, raffle sales and auction bids went to Interim Place, a nonprofit organization.

After free food and drinks were served, Joan Simalchik, the Women and Gender Studies program coordinator at UTM, wished everyone a happy Women’s Day and gave a brief overview of International Women’s Day.

“Tonight we’re here to acknowledge the continuing gender gaps and celebrate the accomplishments of women,” said Simalchik.
The night continued with a performance by Raging Asian Women, a group of East and South-East Asian women continuing the taiko drumming tradition. Raging Asian Women has performed at Pride celebrations in Toronto and Buffalo, New York, Dim Sum Chinese Festival at Harbourfront in Toronto, the international AIDS conference.

“We don’t always have the words to express our support to abused women. Our drumming expresses that which we cannot say,” said a member of Raging Asian Women.

The night ended on a thank you from executive director Cindy Cowan: “Thanks for giving us hope. It’s the silent war—the domestic violence, the lack of water—that’s the biggest killer.”

The WGS Action Group has hosted many events this year, including regular bake sales in the Student Centre and café conversations to engage students on topics such as feminism. The group is seeking recognition from the UTMSU as an official club next year and wishes to obtain office space in the North Building.

Those wishing to learn more about the Action Group are asked to visit the WGS-Action Group on Facebook.

Interim Place is an organization that provides shelter and outreach for women and children who have been physically or emotionally abused.

Within the Peel Region alone, Interim Place has already helped over 30, 000 women, with an annual number of 1,200 women and children being served yearly.

International Women’s Day is a day celebrated around the world, acknowledging the economic, political, and social achievements of women in the past, present, and future. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York in demand of shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The first International Women’s Day was not held until 1911, where women expressed their demands. It started with three women—the first to be elected to the Finnish Parliament—and over 100 women from 17 different countries. International Women’s Day became a global celebration.

Those wishing to learn more about Barlow’s cause are asked to visit canadians.org to learn more.

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