Week 9 is the annual International Women’s Week, and there have been a number of events organised looking at education, gendered violence, work, sexual health, mental health and disability. Thanks to the work of different teams across our campus - from societies including Warwick Anti-Sexism Society, Warwick Enable, Warwick PPE Society and Warwick Mind to name a few, plus our IWW team and various departments - we have a fantastic calendar of unmissable events!
What is International Women’s Day?
"International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women." (InternationalWomensDay.com)
“The celebration of International Working Women’s day started in remembrance to the garment workers’ picket in New York City on March 8, 1857, in which women workers demanded greater equality in the workplace along with the right to vote.” (Warwick Anti-Sexism Society)
The International Women’s Week Team and the events we organised.
Members include: Alice, Eugenia, Hok, Amy, Uma, Helena, Anita, Gabriela, Hahnhee , Aman, Sunneth, Christiana, Ebi, Filomena, Sara, Katie, Bushra, Naomi, Rebecca and myself (Emma-Marie)!
The International Women’s Week Team is a group of volunteers who came together a few months ago. It was important to me to increase engagement with the week and encourage any student to get involved so that our team is open to all members of the Warwick community! We’ve worked hard to create events that are in line with the International Women’s Day theme of #BeBoldForChange, looking at education, gendered violence, work, sexual health, mental health and disability.
What are we doing this International Women’s Week?
For our focus on education, the IWW team are working with student campaign groups to host our Education Officer, Hope Worsdale, who will be talking about how fighting the marketisation of Higher Education is a feminist cause. This is particularly important given the government's plans to further marketise HE, as exemplified by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) - a metric that will be used to justify increased tuition fees. Hope’s talk will explores the TEF’s links to gender, including the gender pay gap, access to education and the effects of increasing marketisation.
Our focus on gendered violence sees the IWW Team, the Law Women’s Project and Warwick Labour co-host the Bluesky centre, who will be talking about the work they do as a Sexual Assault referral centre, together with common myths and support available to survivors. This is a particularly pertinent topic considering the NUS Hidden Marks report showing that 1 in 7 women students are survivors of sexual assault or violence while over two thirds of respondents experienced some kind of verbal or non-verbal harassment in and around their institution. We are also providing refreshments for the social after the Reclaim the Night March that Warwick Anti-Sexism society have organised.
In collaboration with Warwick PPE society and the University Careers Service, we will also be providing a workshop on personal development, assertiveness and confidence building. This is a workshop that should help to reduce stress levels and support students in all aspects of life including relationships and work. With Warwick Mind and the University’s Wellbeing support services, we have organised a peer support wellbeing event, giving students the opportunity to talk and seek advice from wellbeing staff. This is particularly important given that 1 in 4 people are said to experience a mental health illness. In addition, we have invited Joy Ellis from Integrated Sexual Health Services to talk about sexual health, contraception and survivor support, based on the SU’s recently-passed Reproductive Rights policy.
There are so many other events happening during the week including panel discussions, workshops, displays and more which fall into the above themes, including a variety show organised by Warwick Comedy Soc.
The Law Societies Women’s Project is dedicating the week to tackling sexual violence, and encouraging the promotion of consent culture. This is a particularly important series organised by some passionate students, led by Ikepo Abiru, to really emphasise the importance of bodily autonomy and challenging harmful rape myths. On the Monday 13th March they are organising a panel event, and they are also organising a sanitary product drive for Coventry Haven, an organisation that supports survivors. In addition to a number of other events during the week.
Warwick Anti-Sexism Society are dedicating the week to look at sex work. Additional events includes a sex worker positivity workshop, and the concluding Reclaim the Night event which also looks to challenge sexual violence.
There are also plenty of sporting events planned courtesy of Warwick Sport, including free and purchasable sessions and the main International Women's Week Pound Fit event!
See here for more information: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/sport/events/pound-fit/
Please follow us on Facebook to find out more info (www.facebook.com/IWWWarwick) and check out our full calendar of events.
What can YOU do this IWW?
You can attend the events and learn, you can use the hashtag #BeBoldForChange, and the hashtag ##mybodymyrules you can challenge behaviours that contravene gender parity and you can march with us on Friday 10th March against sexual violence!
Read about what NUS Women's Officer, Hareem Ghani, has to say about International Women's Day here: http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/articles/international-women-s-day-support-the-strikes
- By Emma-Marie Okoroafor
Women's Officer 2016-2017