Home Social Justice Women’s Center celebrates 7th Annual International Women’s Day

Women’s Center celebrates 7th Annual International Women’s Day

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On Sunday, March 15, Ohio University Women’s Center celebrated its 7th annual International Women’s Day Festival with an afternoon of performances, women-empowering vendors and educational displays to raise awareness.

International Women’s Day was established in 1911 as a result of the unrest among women in the early 20th century due to the oppressive and unequal restrictions and challenges women faced at the time.

“It’s important for people to be aware of International Women’s Day and for Ohio University and the surrounding Athens communities to see the challenges that women go through throughout the world and also see the amazing things that women are doing and have done around the world,” said Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator of the Women’s Center.

Performances throughout the day included dances, poetry, musical performances, a fashion show and presentations. The list of performances brimmed with empowering and multicultural  displays of feminine strength and support.

Ellie Olin performed a solo belly dance, taking to the dance floor in the Baker Ballroom and swaying under the embracing spotlight with graceful control. She then invited her fellow belly dancers, the Sisters of Salaam, to the floor where they began to perform a fusion tribal dance.

Photo by Maren Machles
Photo by Maren Machles

“The group that we had was really nice and diverse,” Olin said. “I feel like that is what I want to show, dance to me should not have any barriers or boundaries. I think that’s why I have continued to embrace this form of dancing because it extends to anyone who wants to dance. It’s not about, ‘Oh you don’t have the right body type.’ It’s just really a dance that celebrates everyone’s special and unique body type.”

The dance was meant to empower and show solidarity among women.

Olin has been belly dancing for 14 years and performed in the festival four times. But she supports women in more ways than one. She is a registered nurse working with Strong Start Ohio, a project devoted to helping at-risk, pregnant women.

“I feel like I am just constantly looking for ways to reach and communicate with women and educate and do whatever I can,” Olin said. “I feel strongly about women communicating and uniting and embracing each other and empowering each other.”

Jenkins says this is a day meant to call attention to all the injustices done throughout the world and support women in their struggles and successes.

“It’s important because women are still dealing with horrendous injustices all over the world,” Jenkins said. “Women are the majority of people in poverty across the world. Women still make less money than men, in america and all across the world. Women are trafficked from sex slavery all across the world, and these are things that people need to be aware of that we need to care about and be concerned with changing. So I think it’s really important that we highlight women specifically.”

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